Categories Moonshine

What Is Moonshine Made From? (Perfect answer)

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.

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  • 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.

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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.)

What is in moonshine that makes it illegal?

One way the government has been able to market this law is by alluding to the idea that moonshine-making at home is unsafe, due to its potential to be tainted by toxic heavy metal particles. These arguably avoidable risks include tainting the spirit with methanol, which is known to cause blindness.

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 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.

Why is it called moonshine?

The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that illegal spirits were made under the light of the moon. In every part of America, early moonshiners worked their stills at night to avoid detection from authorities. Many farmers relied on moonshine manufacturing to survive bad years.

Is it legal to own a still?

“The process of breaking it down, when the molecule gets broken down, it turns into something that’s very, very dangerous to living cells.” Distilling spirits at home without a license is illegal, but it is legal to buy distilling equipment.

Why is moonshine called white lightning?

White lightning, a white whiskey made surreptitiously and illegally, was once produced in great quantities in South Carolina. It got its name from its color and the kick it delivers when consumed.

What is the strongest alcohol?

Here are 14 of the strongest liquors in the world.

  1. Spirytus Vodka. Proof: 192 (96% alcohol by volume)
  2. Everclear 190. Proof: 190 (95% alcohol by volume)
  3. Golden Grain 190.
  4. Bruichladdich X4 Quadrupled Whiskey.
  5. Hapsburg Absinthe X.C.
  6. Pincer Shanghai Strength.
  7. Balkan 176 Vodka.
  8. Sunset Very Strong Rum.

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.

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.

How are you supposed to drink moonshine?

How should you drink moonshine? “We always drink it straight from the jar, but encourage you to get creative by mixin’ your own recipe. A Southern classic is our Front Porch Peach Tea, which is 2 parts Ole Smoky Peach Moonshine, 1 part sweet tea and 1 part Lemonade, with peach and mint for garnish.”

Is moonshine a Whisky?

Moonshine, both then and now, is whiskey as it comes out of the still: no oak barrels, no caramel color, no aging. It’s just straight liquor from fermented corn or wheat mash. None of the luxury-tinged language that surrounds its grown-up siblings, like bourbon or scotch, applies to the dog.

How much does moonshine cost?

The selling price is around $25 a gallon if sold in bulk, or $40 for retail price. “They can make as much as $10,000 a month,” the task force said. Producers make five to six gallons every seven days in the winter and 7 gallons every five days in warmer weather.

Can you turn moonshine into whiskey?

When moonshine is aged on oak that has been charred and toasted it is transformed from a harsh, burning distillate into a smooth often sweet whiskey. The amount of time required will depend on if your using chips, cubes or staves.

When you watch movies, have you ever been curious about how they claim to manufacture moonshine in their bathtub at home? It’s not like it’s rocket science, after all! It’s actually rather simple to create at your own convenience. Make sure to read this article on moonshine, which includes some fascinating facts about the drink! How to Make Your Own Moonshine

What Is Moonshine?

Moonshine is a distilled alcoholic beverage that can be manufactured from any grain or fruit, depending on what is available to the distiller. Corn is used as the fermentable sugar in the traditional recipe. While it is possible to use other types of alcohol, such as Everclear, in your beverages, where is the fun in that?

History of Moonshine

  • Firstly, some pretty fascinating information about moonshine before we get started on how to produce your first batch of homemade moonshine will be shared with you.
  • The word “moonshine” comes from the fact that it is unlawful to produce and thus must be done at night or under the light (or shine) of the moon.
  • Farmers employed this to supplement their income throughout the historical period since low-value maize harvests could be transformed into high-value whiskey.
  • Because of the high level of alcohol taxation in the United States, the government had a hand in this.

When the Prohibition era began in the United States, all alcoholic beverages were made illegal. Illegal alcoholic beverages, such as moonshine, were transformed overnight into one of the most successful enterprises in the country. This was also the period in which speakeasies were prominent (with with secret entrances, passwords, and other features!). When alcohol became once again legal, the good times came to an end. But, whenever you take a sip of this alcoholic beverage, keep in mind that you are drinking something that has played a significant role in American history!

Choosing Your Type of Moonshine Mash

Moonshine may be prepared from a variety of mashes that contain a variety of different components. There are also a variety of recipes you may experiment with, depending on the taste you want to emphasize the most. In this article, we’ll show you how to make the most fundamental recipe so that you may build on it in the future.

The Classic: Corn Whiskey

Consequently, purists recommend using a corn whiskey mash, which produces the characteristic smooth and full-flavored moonshine that everyone knows and loves. Specifically, this is the recipe that we will be looking at in this article. However, you should experiment to find out what you enjoy the most!

The Sugar Shine

Nowadays, many individuals like to use sugar to enhance the appearance of their food. This is the most popular choice for novices and people who want to truly play with the tastes of their shine because it does not require any mash and yet produces the same alcohol content. Moonshiners can manufacture anything they want with the right stilling kit, including apple pie and chocolate-flavored moonshine.

It all depends on the recipe you choose to follow or develop on your own. The fundamental procedure is dissolving sugar in water and pasteurizing it (if desired), after which you add the yeast nutrient and yeast to the good stuff to ferment.

The Hybrid

  1. This concoction is simply a mashup of the two that came before it.
  2. There are a lot of individuals who utilize this method since it is a more easy and cost-effective way to make moonshine that comes quite close to the original taste of moonshine.
  3. It allows you to double your yield while utilizing the same amount of corn by substituting table sugar for a portion of the corn.

How to Make Moonshine: What You Will Need

Some recipes ask for a one-to-one substitution. For example, you will need 1 gallon of water for every 1 pound of sugar and 1 pound of corn meal you want to use for baking. Feel free to try different things and find what works best for you!

Equipment

Note: Make sure your bucket has a lid and an air-lock before you start digging.

For the Fermentation Process

  1. The first item you’ll need for brewing moonshine is a mash, which is a mixture of grains.
  2. What you use for this step will be determined on the flavor you desire.

Please keep in mind that the components we listed above will vary depending on the formula you use if you are preparing something other than the conventional corn-barley-yeast moonshine.

Step 2: Fermenting Your Mash

Now that you have your mash, let it aside to ferment for 1 to 2 weeks at room temperature before using it. Keep in mind that the temperature plays a crucial role in your achievement. Because the yeast will fall dormant if the temperature drops too low, the fermentation process may come to a halt. Keep in mind that yeast prefers a warm and wet environment. The yeast is responsible for consuming all of the sugar content and converting it to alcohol.

The greatest results are obtained by using a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of your mixture both before it begins fermenting and after it has finished fermenting to guarantee that your combination has completely used all of its sugar. By doing so, you will be able to utilize a formula to determine how much ABV (alcohol by volume) was created throughout your fermentation. Record the specific gravity readings at the start of the fermentation process and at the conclusion of the fermentation process.

Straining

  • After the fermentation period has ended, remove the mash water from the combination using a siphon.
  • By straining everything through a cheesecloth, you can ensure that all of the solid debris and sediment is left behind.
  • Fill a jar halfway with the filtered mash water and set aside.
  • Step 2 (Advanced): (Optional) Some distillers choose to add 2 teaspoons of gypsum to the mash water at this point in the process.
  • After that, they conduct a pH test on the mash water.
  • The pH level should be between 5.
  • 8 and 6.
  • 0 under ideal conditions.

By adding citric acid, you can lower the pH of the solution, and by adding calcium carbonate, you may raise it.

Step 3: Distilling

You’ve completed the most difficult phase in the process of creating mash water for your moonshine: boiling the water. Simply distill your mash water to remove all of the alcohol content and separate it into a pure form is all that remains. Keep in mind that, like the mash preparation process, the distillation process is both a science and an art form. Keep in mind that it will take a lot of practice and trial and error before you become proficient in this area, so be patient with yourself.

We strongly advise you to take notes during the distillation and moonshine-making process so that you may identify areas for improvement when you start a fresh batch of your product.

Prepping Your Still

In order to maintain cleanliness, you must keep your equipment clean even when it is not in use. Though you leave it empty for a long period of time, even if you cleaned it after the last time you used it, you will need to wash it again since it has become dirty. This is crucial, especially if you are utilizing copper stills that have already begun to show signs of salt accumulation. Consequently, before to transferring your mash water, make certain that your still has been well cleaned and washed. Now, you may include packaging in your column.

It should be packed with the appropriate amount of packing material for your particular arrangement. If your arrangement includes a condenser, make sure you connect it to both the water input and output. After all of your preparation work, it’s finally time to fill the still with your mash water. Transfer the mash water into your still using cheesecloth or an auto-siphon, making sure to include any of the solid debris that may have been left behind. You should keep in mind that you want to limit the quantity of sediment in your corn mash water to the greatest extent feasible.

Running Your Still

  • It is the process of separating distinct compounds from one another by taking use of the differences in evaporation temperatures between the substances that is referred to as distilling.
  • This technique does not result in the production of alcohol because the yeast has already done so for you throughout the fermentation phase.
  • This is most likely one of the most critical phases in the production of your alcoholic beverage.
  • It merely serves to separate the alcohol from the other constituents of your mash water, not to purify it.

Make certain that your still is positioned such that the drips from it fall into a clear glass container. Consequently, here’s what you must do:

IMPORTANT: Avoid having your moonshine leak into a plastic container, since this might contaminate your drink with BPA and cause other problems.

Step 4: Collecting Your Distillate

You’ve successfully completed the process of manufacturing moonshine! All that is required is that you collect it together with the remainder of your distillation’s yield.

Collecting Foreshots

  • These are the initial 5 percent of the liquid separated by your distillation process, which is referred to as the foreshots.
  • The foreshots have the highest concentration of alcohols that evaporate the earliest in your corn mash water.
  • It’s important to remember that this should never be consumed.
  • Methanol may be included in foreshots, and ingesting it can be quite harmful.
  • Methanol has the potential to make you blind as well as create other health concerns.
  • If you’re going to do it, you might as well use rocket fuel to get it done.

Make a second container to collect the foreshots in, and then toss that container away.

Collecting Heads

The heads, like the foreshots, contain volatile alcohols, which you should aim to avoid eating as much as possible. While this will not cause you to go blind, it will cause you to suffer from a severe hangover, which is not really pleasant. After you have deleted the foreshots from your goods, the heads account for the remaining 30% of the total.

This “solvent” fragrance is caused by the alcohols in them, particularly the acetone that is found in the heads. Gather the heads once again and place them in a separate container before disposing of them.

Collecting Hearts

The remaining 30 percent, which is produced by your distillation process, is primarily composed of ethanol. This is the type of material you should be collecting and preserving. By now, the unpleasant, solvent smell that you detected in the heads should have vanished from your product. This is the time when the flavor of your moonshine, or whatever flavor you desire from your recipes, should emerge. Your product should have a smooth and pleasant flavor to it. It is at this point that your abilities and experience will be put to use.

It is critical that you properly separate the hearts in order to optimize your production.

Collecting Tails

With your product approaching the end of its lifespan, you will reach the conclusion of its ethanol lifecycle and go on to its last stage: the tails.. Tails account for around 35 percent of your total production. They will also have a distinct flavor due to the use of the hearts. You’ll notice that the sweetness from the sugar has been much reduced in comparison to before. Even the top layer of your alcohol will have an oily appearance. Because of the water, carbs, and proteins in it, it will also feel slick when you rub your fingers between your fingers.

You may either save the tails for subsequent distillation or toss them away immediately after harvesting.

Step 5: Proper Storage

  • Congratulations!
  • You’ve had a successful run, completed the full process, and are now the proud owner of your very own moonshine!
  • Remember to clean up your entire setup, allow it to dry completely, and then store it in a cold, dry environment.

Final Words

As a word of caution, make sure you are aware of the regulations in your nation regarding the production of alcoholic beverages at home. While possessing a still for the purpose of manufacturing essential oils or distilling water is acceptable, things become more complicated when it comes to distilling spirits. Now, go ahead and test it out for yourself! Wishing you the best of success on your moonshine run! Karl S. is a marketing leader, brewer, father, and spouse. Basically, he’s an all-around great person.

  1. Skip to the main content This book is a distillers’ guide to making moonshine.
  2. Moonshine made with corn

How to Make Moonshine: A Distillers Guide For Corn Moonshine

The most recent update was made on October 25, 2021.

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.

  1. Creative distillers may produce anything from apple pie to chocolate-flavored moonshine by removing the maize flavor tones from their blends.
  2. As a result, flavored moonshine has risen in popularity, and it is becoming increasingly widespread.
  3. Finally, we have the hybrid strategy, in which we add sugar to our corn mash to make it taste better.
  4. With the same amount of maize, you may increase your mash yield by a factor of two.
  5. A hybrid mash is more practical and cost-effective than a regular mash while still producing more traditional taste qualities.

In this lesson, we’ll take you through the process of making a classic Corn Whiskey Mash.

However, you are welcome to use one of the various approaches described in the manuals you might find online. 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

  • 6 cups of water, 8.5 pounds of flaked corn maize, 1.5 pounds of crushed malted barley, yeast, mash pot, fermenting bucket, heat source, thermometer, long spoon

Procedure:

Materials:

  • Hydrometer, pH meter (advanced), siphon, cheese cloth, citric acid, and other supplies

Fermentation

Store the mash at room temperature for 1-2 weeks to let it to ferment. The temperature is critical because if the temperature drops too low, the fermentation will halt since the yeast will become dormant. Make use of a hydrometer and verify the specific gravity at the beginning of fermentation and at the end of fermentation to confirm that all sugars have been used. This will provide you with the amount of ABV (alcohol by volume) that your fermentation generated.

Make a note of the specific gravity readings taken at the commencement of fermentation and at the conclusion of the fermentation process. Calculate the amount of alcohol that was created using a formula. Watch this video to learn how to operate a hydrometer.

Straining

  1. To correct pH, carefully siphon mash water out of the mixture, making sure to leave behind all solid material and sediment.
  2. Pour the mash water into a container and set it aside.
  3. It is advised that you strain the mashed potatoes through a cheesecloth at this point.
  4. The presence of solid debris in your mash water might result in headaches that you’d want to avoid.
  5. (Advanced) This is the stage at which some distillers may add 2 teaspoons of gypsum to their mash water.
  6. After that, they do a pH test on their mash water.
  7. The pH ranges from 5.
  8. 8 to 6.
  9. 0, which is good.

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.

Everything from the traditional copper still to stainless reflux units to the innovative Grainfather Brewing System is available from our inventory. Our excellent supplies include everything from high-grade grains to a carbon filter that can be replaced.

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.

If your system includes a condenser, make sure you connect the water input and output lines. Last but not least, it’s time to fill the still with your mash water.

If you want to avoid including solid material in your mash water, you may use a cheesecloth or an auto-siphon to transport it into your still. 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).

Bring your body temperature up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit gradually. If your arrangement includes a condenser, switch on the condensing water whenever the temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, turn your heat source up to its maximum setting until your still begins to produce. Keep track of how fast your drips are increasing in pace until you reach 3 to 5 drips per second. As soon as you’ve reached this pace, turn the heat down to keep it there (typically on the “medium” setting).

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.

Collecting Foreshots

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.

Collecting Heads

  • 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.

Collecting Hearts

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. A good distiller will “shine” at this point based on his or her knowledge of science and their own sensibilities.

Collecting Tails

When you reach the conclusion of the ethanol process and enter the final step of your manufacturing process, you reach the tails. It is estimated that the tails will account for around 35% of your total production. The tails will have a completely distinct flavor from the hearts. You’ll notice a significant decrease in sweetness, and you may even see an oily top-layer on your product at this point. The substance will start to feel slick between your fingertips at this point. This is because to the presence of water, carbs, and proteins.

You can either store your tails aside for later distillation or discard them completely.

Conclusion

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. During the process of learning how to manufacture moonshine, you are simultaneously acting as a scientist and an artist. 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.

  • Then, after a thorough examination, you may suggest areas where you can make improvements in the future.
  • Thank you for stopping by.
  • Mile Hello, Distilling, and don’t forget to check out our shop if you need any materials or moonshine ingredients for your experiments.
  • You have just completed your moonshine-making tutorial using a corn mash recipe.
  • Congratulations!
  • After reading this advice on how to produce moonshine, you should also read our tips on how to manufacture rum and vodka, which are also available for free.

Please let us know what you think of this tutorial by leaving a comment or giving it a star rating in the section provided below. The most recent update was made on October 25, 2021.

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  • Have you ever seen the television program ” Moonshiners”?
  • It’s one of my guilty pleasures, to be honest with you.
  • I really enjoy the sense of humour that the characters finds in one another and in the woods.
  • However, I admire their ability to produce a beverage and to carry on a history that was instilled in them from an early age by their parents and grandparents.

This is why I’m going to show you how to produce moonshine in this tutorial. Keep in mind that while it is lawful to own a moonshine still, it is completely prohibited to distill any alcoholic beverages without a license. Disclaimer: The material supplied on this website is solely for educational purposes. Following my viewing of the show, I became intrigued by the moonshine production process and began doing some investigation. I’m astounded by the amount of science that goes into making this beverage.

Following your education in the distillation process, you should have a greater appreciation for the companies that produce the legal alcoholic beverages you consume, as well as for the original moonshiners who figured out how to do it with little knowledge of science, and in the middle of the woods no less.

The following is the procedure for producing traditional corn whiskey:

It Requires:

  • A total of 5 litres of water
  • 8.5 lbs of cracked or flaked maize
  • 1.5 lbs of crushed malted barley

1. Make the Mash

The method begins with the heating of 5 liters of water to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as the temperature reaches this stage, turn off the heat and carefully add the entire can of corn to the boiling water. It is critical to continually stir the corn for the entire 5 minutes. Continue to stir the corn every 30 seconds to a minute after the 5 minutes has gone, until the temperature has reduced to 152°F. After reaching a temperature of 152°F, it’s time to incorporate the malted barley into the mixture.

  • After the barley has been added, cover the container and allow it to settle for an hour and a half before using.
  • During this time, however, make sure to uncover the mixture every 15 minutes and whisk it thoroughly.
  • After you’ve finished stirring the mixture, replace the cover.
  • The ultimate objective of this stage of the process is to successfully convert all of the starches into sugar as quickly as possible.
  • You should be certain that this aim has been achieved at the end of the hour and a half.

Allow the mixture to remain for another 2-3 hours after the hour and a half is up to ensure that it has completely cooled. If you’re in a rush, you may use an immersion blender to quickly combine the ingredients together to speed up the chilling process. As soon as the temperature hits 70 degrees Fahrenheit, sprinkle yeast evenly over the mixture. Check to see that the entire top has been draped. There is no fermentation if the yeast is not present. There is no alcohol in the absence of fermentation. This is, without a doubt, a vital first step.

After the yeast has been added, the next step is to aerate the mixture. Continue to pour the mixture back and forth between the two containers until you are certain that everything has been well combined and aerated. After aeration, place a tight-fitting cover on the container containing the mash to keep out air.

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2. Allow the Mash to Ferment

Fermentation is the period of time during which yeast does its miracle and converts maize mash into alcohol. It’s critical that the mash is let to rest for roughly 2 weeks before using. After the two-week waiting time has expired, wait another week to confirm that everything is breaking down as it should have. After three weeks, remove the container’s lid and discard the contents. The mash should have a strong alcohol scent to it, and it should be frothy in appearance. This is a notification that the corn and barley have begun to ferment. Following that, strain the mash.

You should strain everything through a big sieve or cheesecloth to eliminate any larger bits of mash or debris from the final product. You don’t want these things to continue to circulate through your system in the next phases. When you are certain that you have removed all of the silt and big fragments of grain from the fermented liquid, pour the liquid into the still and proceed with the rest of the distillation procedure as directed.

3. Ready the Still

  • If you’re distilling moonshine, I’m going to presume you’re also a legitimate distributor of the product.
  • As a result, you most likely make use of your still on a frequent basis.
  • Regardless of whether you use your still on a regular basis or not, it is crucial to keep it clean.
  • Getting dust particles or debris into the moonshine you’ve worked so hard to create is something you don’t want to happen.
  • Different stills operate in a variety of ways and contain a variety of components.
  • There are also several ways for operating stills that may be used.

If you’ve been meaning to pack your column, now is the moment to do it. Some individuals opt to load their column because it produces a greater alcohol proof, which they find appealing.

Additionally, if your still includes a condenser, now is an excellent time to bring water to the still for both water intake and outflow. Once the still has been set up and the mash has been strained and added, you’ll be ready to proceed with the distillation process..

4. Start the Distilling Process

You’ll start by turning on the heat to the lowest setting on the still. The ideal temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to switch on the water at this stage in the procedure if your system still has a condenser. Using a heat source, gradually increase the temperature of your still until you begin to observe alcohol being created. It’s important to time the alcohol drops as they come out. When the alcohol is pouring at a rate of 3-5 drips per second, it is time to reduce the heat. A widespread misperception is that distillation is the process through which alcohol is produced.

This isn’t the case, however. A chemical reaction occurs in the still during the distillation process. This procedure allows for the separation of alcohol from the other chemical components present in the still. As a result, a pure alcoholic beverage is produced, which humans have been enjoying for generations. By the interaction between the mash and the yeast, the alcohol was produced as part of the fermentation process in the first place. Once the alcohol has begun to flow from your still, it is critical that you pay great attention to the next steps.

This is what distinguishes the many distillers involved in this procedure.

5. The Different Parts of the Moonshine

  1. Moonshine production is an art form.
  2. In order to improve, you must practice as much as possible (legally!
  3. ).
  4. What, on the other hand, is the difference between one person’s moonshine and another’s?
  5. This is directly related to being familiar with the many components of the product you’re manufacturing.
  6. While studying and recognizing the many components of moonshine helps to generate better products, it also helps to assure the safety of such products.
  7. The foreshots are the first 5 percent of the moonshine that comes out of your still, and they are the most expensive.

This is a potentially dangerous product since it includes methanol. It has been linked to the development of blindness and should not be ingested. The heads are the first 30 percent of the moonshine that comes out of your still after it has been distilled. The heads still contain methanol, although in lower concentrations, and they have a strong fragrance that reminds me of nail paint remover. Additionally, this portion of the product should not be ingested. Despite the fact that it does not cause blindness, it might leave you feeling groggy in the morning in the majority of situations.

It is preferable to take precautions, be patient, and wait for a high-quality product to be manufactured before ingesting it. The hearts are the remaining 30% of the product generated by the still after the heads are removed. This is the high-quality product you’ve been looking forward to for a long time. The delicious perfume it emits will alert you that you have successfully reached the hearts. The tails, on the other hand, are the final part of the run. You’ll notice that this area doesn’t smell as pleasant and that it has a slick feel to it when you touch it.

The slickness is caused by a significant reduction in the quantity of ethanol present, with water, carbohydrates, and proteins taking over as a result.

Additionally, you may discover that you’ve reached the tails of the run because an oily layer will begin to form on the surface of the product, indicating that you’ve reached the tails.

6. Knowing the Difference

  1. I’ve gone over how to prepare a moonshine mash, the fermentation process, and the distillation process in detail.
  2. The many components of the moonshine product have also been discussed.
  3. Still, what is it that distinguishes the flavors of two distinct distilleries?
  4. Well, the formula might be significantly altered, resulting in a product with a somewhat distinct flavor.
  5. Yet, the capacity to separate the moonshine between two distinct moonshiners is the most important factor in determining the quality of the moonshine produced by each.

For example, you may have noted in the previous step that I instructed you to smell the product in order to determine which stage of the process you were in. Because the more moonshine you create, the easier it becomes to separate the product from the rest with more precision. The more pure the product, the more flavorful it is. Developing your ability to distinguish the difference between the point where the heads stop and the heart begins will allow you to generate superior taste as your confidence grows.

You’ll need to put in the necessary time and effort, but you should see a difference after making both of these commitments. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a mentor. Moonshining is still practiced today because to the efforts of those who have taught others how to do it. However, I must emphasize that you should only seek the advice of a legal mentor. No matter how little moonshine is created, if you don’t have a permit, you’re breaching the law regardless of how much is produced.

  1. So, you’ve learned how to make moonshine and, hopefully, gained a better knowledge of the skill set necessary to become a better moonshiner throughout the course of your career.
  2. Our objective and intention is not to incite unlawful moonshining, but rather that you will have a better appreciation of the process that authorized distributors must go through in order to provide you a beverage you like.
  3. Aside from that, after investigating this method, I have a far higher respect for the ‘original moonshiners.

‘ In the hope that you would share our reverence for the wisdom they were able to acquire and pass down without the aid of modern technology or (in many cases) formal schooling, we have created this website.

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Moonshine, like most distilled spirits, is a result of the distillation process. Creating moonshine entails many steps, including preparing and fermenting the mash, utilizing a still to complete the distillation process, and collecting the distillate. However, it is what occurs in the interim between those phases that distinguishes the finest procedures from the poorer ones. To begin, let us to state that creating moonshine is still a violation of federal law in the United States and that we will continue to fight this.

To make moonshine for personal use or lawful distribution, one would need to get a federal license from the Department of Agriculture. All of that being said. As moonshine’s resurgence has occurred in recent years, several establishments have begun calling their greatest drinks “moonshine” and introducing them to an entire generation of drinkers who had previously been unfamiliar with the spirit.

It should come as no surprise that individuals are interested in learning how to create moonshine at home.

What is Moonshine and What is it Made from?

  1. Moonshine is traditionally considered to be a home-brewed beverage.
  2. Farmers in the Appalachian Mountains would produce their own “shine” in their own stills and bottle it in mason jars to sell to neighbors and friends.
  3. They eventually discovered that it might be a reliable source of additional revenue, so they increased the quantity of product they manufactured for sale.
  4. A variety of grains and fruits can be used to make moonshine.
  5. Traditionally, whatever grain or fruit was readily available in a particular location at a given time would serve as the foundation for a dish.

The moonshine that we are familiar with today, on the other hand, is often made with corn as the primary source of fermentable sugar. There isn’t much of a distinction between the production of vodka and moonshine in terms of the process. Both are unaged neutral spirits that are often cut with water to boost volume and produce an alcoholic beverage that is completely safe to consume in large quantities.

“Moonshiners” prepare the drink from a fruit or grain mash from which natural sugars are removed via fermentation, or they can use commercial sugar, as long as the natural sugars are extracted by fermentation. Sugar is essential in the process, and this is where the difference between it and whiskey, which is made entirely of grain, can be seen. Moonshine is sometimes referred to be a type of “clear, unaged whiskey” by certain drinkers.

Why Make Your Own Moonshine?

You enjoy booze, and even we who enjoy liquor must confess that there is something unique about producing your fermented beverage from home rather than purchasing it from a bottle shop or liquor store. Even if you haven’t really done it, the simple dream of seeing that first drop come out of your still and being able to claim you created your own moonshine, followed by the picture of getting blitzed and blasted with your pals, is already fulfilling in and of themselves.

Fortunately, distilling is the type of art and trade that encourages experimentation, but not without its own set of constraints. You may begin with the most basic moonshine runs then, if you’re up for it, progress to more complex grain bills, barrel maturation, and a variety of other fascinating procedures that improve the flavor of the finished product. There are several methods to experiment with spirits, particularly moonshine, that will always leave you with a desire to try something new.

First, make sure you’re authorized to distill

  • In the United States, you can brew your own beer or create your own wine at home, but if Johnny Law discovers that you’re creating moonshine, you’ll face severe consequences.
  • You might be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison or fined up to $10,000, or both, if you are convicted.
  • Why?
  • So, there’s that.
  • In 1979, President Jimmy Carter approved the practice of making beer at home without incurring federal taxation.
  • The same may be said about wine as well.

Homebrewing was permitted across Europe, as well as virtually everywhere else in the world, with the exception of a few Middle Eastern countries. Distilling alcohol, on the other hand, is a very other affair. See, it is not just unlawful to produce moonshine at home; distilling alcohol — any alcohol — without a permission is against the law in every state, regardless of jurisdiction. Even creating ethanol for use as a fuel will necessitate the acquisition of a license, let alone manufacturing alcohol for consumption.

The law does permit you to possess a still and utilize it for a variety of purposes, including distilling water or producing essential oils. In essence, you can distill all day as long as you don’t make any alcoholic beverages and don’t report your activities to the authorities.

How to Make Moonshine

Making moonshine is not a difficult endeavor. However, it may be really stressful, especially if you aren’t doing it correctly from the very beginning of the process. It’s also uncommon for someone to receive high grades on their first effort, and the quality of your work may still be far from ideal even after your second or third attempts.

Things You’ll Need

  • Pot is still on
  • It is important to note that depending on what your still is made for, the heat source might be electric, gas, or wood fire.
    a bucket for fermenting
  • Airlock
  • A supply of running water, or at the very least a couple of litres of frozen water, for cooling the vapor is required.
    1. Mason jars, the most popular of which are collector containers, are the most common.

    A thermometer for cooking

  • A hydrometer

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 gallons of water
  • 8.5 pounds of cracked or flaked maize
  • 1.5 pounds of crushed malted barley

1. Preparing and fermenting the mash

The first thing you must do is fill a 5-gallon bucket halfway with water. Only when the temperature hits 165°F (74°C) should the heat be turned off. Then, pour in the full amount of maize into the water and stir constantly for approximately 5 minutes. After the 5-minute mark, you will only need to stir the corn every 3 seconds until it reaches a temperature of 152°F (67°C), at which point you may stop stirring. Adding the malted barley to the container is the next stage in the process.

After covering it with plastic wrap and letting it sit for an hour and a half, you must stir the mixture every 15 minutes and cover it again after you are through stirring. The reason for this is because all of the carbohydrates must be converted into sugar. After one and a half hours, you must allow the mixture to cool completely before using it. You may continue to cook it for another 2-3 hours, or you can use an immersion blender to stir it up and speed up the chilling process significantly. The target temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

  1. After that, evenly sprinkle yeast over the entire mixture, making sure that the entire top surface is completely covered with yeast.
  2. A vital component of the fermentation process, yeast is required for the production of alcohol without it.
  3. After the yeast has been added, the following stage will be aeration of the mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture back and forth between two containers until the desired amount of mixing and aeration has been accomplished, then stop.
  5. After that, cover the mash container with an airtight lid.
  6. It is now ready for fermentation to begin.

Fungi or bacteria, as well as other microorganisms — in this example, yeast – transform sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process. In order for fermentation to occur, the mash must be allowed to sit for around 2 weeks. Some folks wait an extra week to be sure that everything is breaking down as it should be. Others wait two weeks. When the waiting period has expired, you should be able to smell the alcohol as soon as you open the container’s cover. You will also note that the mash seems frothy or whisked, which indicates that the maize and barley have effectively fermented.

To ensure that lumps of mash or sediment are removed and do not become part of the distillation process, strain the mash through a big sieve or cheesecloth and set it aside. After carefully filtering the liquid, you may begin preparing to pour it into the still for use.

2. Setting up the still and starting the distilling process

First and first, whether you’re utilizing a new or an old still, you must thoroughly clean it. The last thing you want is for dirt and dust particles to end up in your moonshine, which you’ve worked so hard to make flawless. Different stills operate in a variety of ways and contain a variety of components. There are also several ways for operating stills that may be used. Packing a distillation column is the most effective and easiest method of increasing the final proof of moonshine while also improving its flavor.

  1. Copper scrubbers, raschig rings, and glass distilling beads are all good options for accomplishing this.
  2. If you want to pack columns as part of your strategy, this is the moment to do it.
  3. Once you’ve done setting up the still, you’ll be able to begin distilling your product.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66 degrees Celsius).
  5. If your system still has a condenser, turn on the water.
  6. Simple garden hoses that drip slowly with chilly water might be used for this task.
  7. Afterwards, raise the temperature of your still until you begin to notice alcohol being created.

When the temperature hits roughly 190°F (87°C), you should be able to see the first drips of alcohol coming from the distillery still. Keep track of when the drips occur. Reduce the heat if you see that the alcohol is flowing at a rate of 3-5 drips per second. It is critical at this moment to keep the heat intensity at a moderate level. Provide the exact proper quantity of heat to ensure that the wash maintains its temperature consistency throughout the whole procedure.

Prepare the mason jars that will be used to collect the distillate. Due to the fact that you will only be collecting a few drops of distillate every second, the complete process will take many hours.

3. Collecting the distillate

Although the procedure is nearly completed, the most crucial portion is just just getting started. Every distiller must be familiar with and comprehend the numerous components of moonshine in order to determine which ones are safe and which ones are not. The first 5 percent of the moonshine that drips from your still will need to be discarded, so plan accordingly. The foreshots are a term used to describe this section of the game. This product includes methanol, which is a chemical that has been linked to blindness and should not be ingested. It has the potential to be dangerous as well.

It is recommended that you collect and discard foreshots weighing at least 4 ounces for every 5 gallons of distillate that you are distilling. After the foreshots, it’s time to bring out the heads. This section consumes the remaining 30 percent of the liquor dropping from your still after it has been distilled. The methanol is still present in the heads, albeit in less amounts this time around. It will have a strong scent similar to nail polish remover. Not consuming the heads would also be preferable in this situation.

  1. Although it is unlikely to result in blindness, it might leave you feeling nauseated the next day.
  2. This section should not be consumed since the following one will include the completed product that you’ve been looking forward to for a very long time.
  3. It’s referred to as the hearts.
  4. It is the remaining 30% that is created by those who are still following the heads.
  5. The pleasant scent will quickly alert you to the fact that you are in the proper stage of collecting drips for ingestion.
  6. The tails are the last section of the moonshine run, and it is the most difficult to complete.

This half will not have the same lovely fragrance as the hearts. If you touch it, you’ll note that it has a slight greasiness to it due to the large reduction in the quantity of ethanol present, which has been replaced by water, carbohydrates, and proteins. Most likely, you won’t have any difficulty differentiating between the tails and the hearts in this situation. As a general rule of thumb, only the heart portion of the distillate is collected for consumption, with the tails being saved for future distillation. It is not very hazardous to have some of the tails incorporated with your drink.

It does, however, have a distinctly unpleasant flavor. People describe it as having a foul, vegetable-like flavor that can detract from the overall flavor of your moonshine and leave you with a blazing headache the following morning.

Is There Another Way to Make Moonshine?

Yes! Was it ever brought to your attention that you could create moonshine in an instant pot? The items you’ll require are as follows:

  • 15-gallon metal pot
  • 2 yards of copper tubing (14-inch wide)
  • Pressure cooker
  • Drill bit (quarter-inch diameter)
  • Large plastic bucket
  • Cheesecloth

Best Flavored Moonshine Recipes

  1. Here are some traditional moonshine recipes with a modern twist that you might like to try out.
  2. Simply click on the recipe names to be taken to detailed step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the dishes.

Peach Moonshine Mash

This recipe for fruity moonshine is rather simple to prepare.

Only 20 lbs. of peaches, 6 lbs. of granulated sugar, 6 gallons of water, 2 packets of Champagne yeast, and 1 packet of Pot Still Turbo with Pectic Enzyme are required to make this delicious beverage.

Strawberry Moonshine

If you’re looking for the perfect accompaniment to savory meals at a Sunday BBQ, this sweet alcoholic beverage will do the trick. The following ingredients are required: 800 grams of sugar, 96 ounces of water, 40 ounces of Everclear (190 proof), 32 ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 24 ounces of strawberry purée

Watermelon Moonshine

This delicious beverage isn’t enough to make the summer season complete. This delicious spirit may be made using 16 oz. of hot water, 14 grams of yeast, 5 watermelons, 4 pounds of sugar cane, and 2 pounds of raisins, among other ingredients.

Safety is the 1 Priority

  1. We are all aware that the combination of alcohol and recklessness is a well-known recipe for spectacular mishaps.
  2. When creating your own moonshine, there are certain basic safety precautions you should follow.
  • Do not distill in a confined or enclosed environment. When liquor vapors escape from the still, there is a chance of an open fire and spontaneous combustion occurring, both of which may be disastrous. This is because you do not want your house turned into a bomb manufacturing facility. If you intend to distill in large quantities, set up a distilling facility outside your home. Because you never know what can catch fire near the still, it’s advisable to keep a fire extinguisher close at all times so you can put it out as fast as possible.

    Make an investment in suitable protective equipment. And, unless you’re keen on touching a scorching hot copper still with your bare hands, put on gloves.

    Making moonshine should not be done when under the influence of alcohol. Drinking while waiting for the procedure to complete may be tempting, and for many, it may even be considered regular practice, but the process necessitates that you maintain your focus and address possible difficulties as they arise. Checking the flavor of the hearts will give you a solid indication of whether or not you’re doing things correctly, but this should not take more than a drink or two

  • You should enlist the assistance of another person. You should have at least one other person with you in case you require assistance. Or, better yet, find a mentor who has had legitimate moonshine-making experience or at the very least has some knowledge of the process. Moonshining has survived as a tradition largely due to the efforts of those who have mentored others and kept the custom alive.

How Strong is Moonshine?

In the 2012 film Lawless, there is a scene in which the characters played by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy were a couple of alcohol bootleggers who, after they ran out of petrol, utilized a jar of moonshine as fuel to power their vehicle. This concept was most likely formed as a result of the widespread impression of moonshine as a drink with such a high level of potency. In that specific circumstance, when moonshine was most likely produced illegally, the assumption is plausible.

  1. The proof of moonshine might reach 190 proof during the prohibition era, but the minimum proof required to drive an automobile is just 150 proof now.
  2. A Mythbusters episode included a 192-proof moonshine container that was used to power three automobiles from various decades (the 1970s, 1990s, and 2010s), and all three vehicles were able to operate, but with variable levels of performance.
  3. So, how potent is moonshine exactly?

Despite the fact that many people complain about the burn or the strong flavor associated with drinking moonshine, few people are aware that excellent grade moonshine is really fairly smooth and palatable. In fact, it is often regarded as a fantastic platform for flavoring applications. Because it is colorless, moonshine is the drink of choice for distillers who want to produce a flawless blend of fruit and explosive taste in their creations.

What Makes a Moonshine Recipe Better than Others?

The majority of distillers feel that the distinctive characteristic that distinguishes the quality of moonshine produced by two different moonshiners is the method by which they separate the drink. After all, the purer the product, the richer and more flavorful the drink will be as a result of the process. This means that creating moonshine is similar to most other undertakings in life: the one who practices the most is the one who improves the most.

In order to determine which phase of the process he is in, a distiller would need to smell the product, and it would take a lot of expertise for him to perfect the technique of separating the product with more precision.

To be more specific, the more sure you are in your ability to distinguish the difference between the point where the heads no longer drip and the place where the hearts begin to flow, the more flavorful your moonshine will be.

The Bottom Line

Rather than encouraging illegal moonshining, we hope that you will get a better understanding of how to create moonshine – just as legitimate distributors do – by reading this page. Again, there’s nothing quite like being able to distill your own spirit, and achieving that gratification takes careful planning, thorough understanding, and extreme caution.

Moonshine has been around for as long as it has been infamous. A lengthy and scandalous history has been written about moonshine, beginning with the rum runners in the 1700s, continuing with stories of individuals going blind from drinking these alcoholic drinks during Prohibition in the 1920s, and culminating with the current generation of homebrewers. So, what is it about homemade moonshine that has us so intrigued and intrigued? Why did individuals take the danger of breaching the law in order to create it? Why do individuals continue to take such a chance?

The answer is found in a sense of fulfillment. In addition to having a distinct, biting flavor, moonshine is quite simple to create. Many individuals take great delight in making their own, while others still find it exhilarating to follow the rules of the road and stay inside the law. If you are interested in manufacturing moonshine for whatever reason, you can find out all you need to know right here. Every aspect of the fundamentals of distillation has been covered, from how to construct your own still to the mechanics of the distillation process itself.

We will also provide you with some suggestions for avoiding the production of rocket fuel. So let’s get started with the fundamentals.

What Is Moonshine?

  • Maize liquor (also known as backwoods whiskey) is a transparent, unaged whiskey that is manufactured at home by the distillation of corn.
  • It is mostly manufactured from maize, however it may also be created from other ingredients, and it contains a significant amount of alcohol.
  • Moonshine was first introduced to North America by Scottish and Irish immigrants, and it quickly became a staple in the region.

A prohibition against moonshine was passed in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton (yep, the same Alexander Hamilton from the musical Hamilton) that resulted in its manufacture being moved underground and onto the black market. The term “moonshine” is supposed to have originated shortly after this, when individuals began manufacturing and selling the liquor at night in order to avoid paying taxes on it. Even while illegal moonshine manufacture continues to be practiced today, licensed distilleries are now producing it for sale in liquor stores.

What You’ll Need

  • Large stainless steel pot with a cover that fits well and shuts tightly
  • Electric hot plate, 5-gallon bucket, cooking thermometer, refrigerator coil or copper tubing (20-foot length), and a few more items.

    3/8 inch compression adapter to 3/8 inch compression adapter

    Teflon tape

  • High-temperature hot glue
  • And other materials
    File made of metal
  • Drilling with 1/8-inch and 3/8-inch drill bits

How Does Distillation Work?

Corn (or rye, barley, or other grains) mash is used in the distillation process, which includes extracting and purifying alcohol from the mash. In order to extract the alcohol from the mash, it is first heated to the point of vaporization.

Once the vapor has been eliminated, the liquid is cooled until it returns to its liquid state, resulting in clear alcohol. It is not a difficult procedure, but it is extremely sensitive and does not tolerate change well.

How to Make a Moonshine Still

Despite the fact that there are several alternatives for purchasing a still, many individuals find it to be both cheaper and more fulfilling to create their own pot still. As you can see in the illustration above, it is not difficult to construct a still, and the majority of the materials can be obtained from your local hardware shop. Making a still for marijuana distillation is a pretty simple technique that takes only a few steps. It is not necessary to be an engineer in order to construct one; simply follow these basic procedures.

Step 1: Making the Lid

  1. The very first step is to drill many holes in the mash pot cover to allow for drainage.
  2. You’ll need to drill two holes, one of 1/8 inch and one of 3/8 inch in diameter.
  3. Prepare the lid by drilling two holes on either side of it, about two inches from the edge of the lid.
  4. Use the file to smooth off any rough edges that may have formed.

Step 2: Adding the Thermometer

Put Teflon tape around the post of your culinary thermometer probe near the dial, and then put it back in its place. It is possible to use either digital or analog thermometers. Continue to do so until the thermometer is snugly fitting into the 1/8 inch hole. To complete the seal, put hot glue around the outside of the hole. Using high-temperature hot glue should prevent the adhesive from melting while the distillation process is in progress, according to the manufacturer.

Step 3: Adding the Compression Adaptor

Placing the male end (the part of the compressor adaptor that has its threads on the exterior) of its male end into a pot lid from the bottom up will work best. Make use of adhesive to keep it in place.

Step 3 ½: Shape the Coil

  1. At this stage, you will need to form your coil to your specifications.
  2. The copper tube should fit snugly in the bucket with just a few inches of straight at the bottom end to serve as a spout, so make sure it is as long as the bucket.
  3. This is really crucial for the cooling process to take place.
  4. Straighten out the top end a little to create an arch that will span up from the lid, across the top of the bucket, and down to the bottom of the bucket.
  5. Take cautious not to cause the pipe to collapse.

Step 4: Attaching the Refrigerator coil

Place the female end of the compressor adaptor (the nut with the threads on the inside) onto the end of the refrigerator coil so that the open end is facing out. After that, insert the ferrule (the little bell-shaped object that came with the adapter) into the end of the coil and tighten the screw. In the end, screw the adapter together, making a connection between the coil and the lid.

Step 5: Setting up the Bucket

Make a hole about an inch from the bottom of the bucket’s base with the 3/8-inch drill bit and the 3/8-inch bit. Because here is where the coil will emerge, it is important to drill the hole at an angle that corresponds to the direction of the coil’s exit. Pass the end of the coil through the hole until an inch or two of it protrudes from the other side. Make sure there are no leaks by applying glue all around the opening. This will be the condenser for your system.

Optional Step 6: Extra Security

  • If the coil shifts around too much in the bucket, clamps or brackets can be used to keep it from moving about.

How to Make Moonshine

While there are a variety of moonshine recipes that use various oats and grains, classic moonshine is created solely from corn and a few other basic components. To prepare a traditional moonshine mash, you’ll need maize, granulated sugar, yeast, and water, among other ingredients. Start by grinding the corn into a meal or purchasing flaked corn maize to use as a starting point. After that, soak it in water in the still for a few minutes before adding the sugar. Finally, add the yeast and thoroughly mix it up.

The yeast (which can be either distiller’s yeast or bread yeast) is essential to the chemical process of fermentation and must be used properly.

Step 2: Ice

Fill the condenser with ice to prevent overheating. This ice is essential because it will aid in the conversion of the alcohol vapor back into liquid. Using a coil that is too short or not using ice can result in a large portion of the moonshine being lost to vaporization.

Step 3: Heating

  1. Set the hotplate to a temperature slightly below boiling.
  2. The actual evaporation temperatures are a matter of personal choice, but the goal is to evaporate the alcohol slowly, thus generally speaking, lower temperatures are preferable.
  3. The recommended temperature range is 172-210°F (78-99°C), however I recommend keeping the temperature around 200°F (93°C) for the best results.
  4. Consistently raise and lower the cooking temperature.

Step 4: Sit Back and Wait

Now that you have completed the necessary preparations, all that remains is to wait. As the mash boils, the alcohol will evaporate and climb to the top of the pipe system. Ice will chill the liquid as it goes down the length of the coil, causing it to revert to a liquid state. The liquid will then gently drain out of the end of the pipe and into whatever glass container you have waiting for it at the other end. Here it is, the high-quality product you’ve been looking for. Tada!

Common Mistakes

We all make errors from time to time. Even though making mistakes is nothing to be embarrassed of, when those mistakes might have life-threatening repercussions, you might want to do some research before getting started. A few of the most common blunders distillers make are listed below.

Incorrect Measurements

  • When it comes to distilling, math is not everyone’s strong point, and neither is following recipes, but you may want to double-check your calculations if you want to do it right.
  • The use of too much or too little of any component might completely derail the delicate process.

Lack of Testing

If you are utilizing a handmade still, you must put it through its paces. It should be put through its paces. It should be tested again. There are a plethora of problems that untested stills can create. Trust me on this. You don’t want to discover a leak in the middle of the distillation process or have a connecting point explode.

Using the Wrong Materials

Using the incorrect materials to construct a DIY still is a recipe for disaster..

Use of a plastic container or metals such as aluminum should be avoided at all costs since they can melt and release poisons. Don’t put your life in jeopardy only to save a few dollars.

Too Much Heat

Although it may be tempting to accelerate the process by increasing the temperature, this is not a good idea. Not only would increasing the heat destroy the brew and leave it with a burned flavor, but it can also cause pressure build-up and explosions in the surrounding area. Also, use caution if you are need to handle a functioning still. Any skin that comes into contact with a scorching hot still will suffer the consequences.

Lazy Cleaning

  • After each batch of moonshine, make sure to thoroughly clean your whole set-up.
  • Those of you who are exceptionally lazy and don’t want to bother with cleaning your still after each run should reconsider their position.
  • Leaving residue in your next batch, particularly around the adapter, might result in undesirable tastes in the following batch.

Moonshine Mash

There are several corn moonshine mash recipes to choose from. In traditional mash, cornmeal is the most important element, as I already said. Corn mash is used to create a smooth, full-bodied, and powerful whiskey. Despite the fact that this is the traditional procedure, some individuals do not appreciate the mild maize flavor tones in the whiskey. There are several ways to prepare mashed potatoes, as well as numerous recipes to pick from. If you are proficient in the production of moonshine, you may experiment with other flavors.

Keep in mind that no matter whatever moonshine recipe you choose, you will need yeast to complete the fermentation process successfully. The recipes for sugar shine mash, hybrid mash, and fruit mash are among the most common flavored moonshine recipes. Most of the time, a hybrid mash is made with equal parts corn and sugar content. This helps to balance out the corn flavor without detracting too much from the original flavour. You may also add sugar to fruit mashes, although you aren’t required to do so because fruits contain naturally occurring sugars.

There are many excellent resources for matching the quantity of sugar added to each fruit with the amount of sugar that each fruit starts with if you prefer to sweeten your fruit mash before cooking it. If you wish to prepare a fruit mash, I recommend that you study up on this because the amount of sugar you will need may vary based on the fruit you choose. Too much sugar might give your end product a cidery flavor if you use it too often.

Fermenting

  • Ten pounds of cornmeal, ten pounds of sugar, and half an ounce of yeast will be needed to prepare a hybrid mash, according to the recipe.
  • In addition, you’ll need ten gallons of water and a pot that’s sufficient for the task.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then add the cornmeal.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until the meal becomes a paste, then add the sugar and yeast.
  • Cook after properly mixing the ingredients.
  • Removing the mash from the heat and covering it with a towel will begin the fermentation process in your home.

Ferment it in a cold, dark environment, like as a cellar, until the flavor is developed. As fermentation progresses, brown or tan foam will begin to rise to the surface. When it stops rising, it means that all of the fermentable sugar has been used. This should take around two weeks, but you’ll know when it’s finished when it hasn’t bubbled for a couple of days in a row.

Once the mash has fermented, strain it through a cheesecloth to remove the yeast. The residual solids can be disposed of as waste. In a distiller, add the filtered mash water and you’ll be ready to start manufacturing moonshine right away.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have unanswered questions about the moonshine-making process, have a look at the following commonly asked questions.

Why is moonshine dangerous?

Because of the presence of methanol in moonshine, the most dangerous aspect of consuming it is the risk of getting alcohol poisoning (methyl alcohol, also known as wood alcohol). If you do not correctly distill moonshine, you may end up with traces of methanol in your product. A single alcoholic drink of methanol can induce lifelong blindness, and a single drink of 30ml can result in death.

Can I buy ready-made moonshine stills?

  1. Absolutely.
  2. While there are many different moonshine kits and stills to choose from, the most of them are rather pricey.
  3. A ready-made, high-quality still would be difficult to obtain for less than $100 if you were looking for something similar.

Can I distill other things in the moonshine still?

Yes. When using a moonshine distiller, you can distill nearly any alcoholic beverage. It should work as long as there is alcohol to be extracted from the mixture. There are many different grains and oats, as well as wines and liquors, that fall under this category.

Can I make fermenting any faster?

While there are methods for expediting the fermentation process, the majority of them will not work with moonshine mash. The one advice that can truly assist you in speeding up fermentation is to mash the ingredients together as the name indicates. Using a fork, mash the corn. The fruit should be mashed. Anything that is going to be fermented should be mashed. This increases the amount of surface area available for fermentation, allowing for more sugars to be fermented at the same time.

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.

When moonshine or whiskey is originally distilled, it has a distinct structure that is easy to discern. 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. Even though moonshine does not need to be aged, it can be enhanced by the addition of fruits such as cherries or strawberries. The formula for whiskey, brandy, or rum is almost identical to the one for moonshine in most cases.

  • The base material that is utilized prior to distillation is what distinguishes them from one another.
  • Whiskey is historically created from a blend of grains.
  • This is no longer the case.
  • Moonshine traditionally manufactured from maize is known as classic moonshine.
  • When it comes to spirits, brandy may be manufactured from practically any type of fruit, whereas rum is derived from fermented sugar cane and vodka can be made from potatoes or simply a mixture of sugar water and yeast.
  • What is the process of making moonshine?

The techniques of making moonshine or any other distilled alcohol are divided into two categories: fermentation and distillation. 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. Distillation is the process of evaporating the alcohol from a fermented mixture that has been heated to around 172 degrees Fahrenheit (78 degrees Celsius) and collecting the steam before condensing it back into a liquid form of alcohol.

The theory of alcoholic distillation is based on the fact that alcohol and water have significantly different boiling points. Because ethanol (alcohol) has a lower boiling point than water, it is the first component of the fermented mixture to evaporate when it is heated to a boil. The alcohol vapor is subsequently cooled and condensed within the condenser, resulting in the formation of a liquid.

After any remaining ethanol has been vaporized from the boiling liquid, the temperature rises, causing the water to condense and evaporate as well. 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.

There needs to be a compelling reason for going through all of the bother of manufacturing moonshine in the first place. Actually, there have been a number of causes, but they all boil down to one thing: government control of the alcohol trade in the United States. Moonshining was practiced very early in the history of the United States. A short time after the Revolution, the United States found itself in the difficult position of having to pay for the expenses of a lengthy war. The idea was to impose a federal tax on alcoholic beverages such as liquors and spirits.

The American people, who having recently fought a war to free themselves from oppressive British taxation (among other things), were not overjoyed with the outcome. As a result, they decided to just continue producing their own whisky while fully ignoring the government tax. Making and selling alcoholic beverages wasn’t just a recreational activity or a method to supplement their income; it was a means of survival for these early moonshiners.

  1. It was possible for farmers to survive a difficult year by distilling their maize into lucrative whiskey, and the additional revenue made a tough frontier living practically tolerable.
  2. They believed that paying the tax meant that they would be unable to provide for their family.
  3. When federal agents (known as ” Revenuers “) came around to collect the tax, they were assaulted, and some were tarred and feathered, according to the report.
  4. All of this hatred culminated in the siege of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1794, when several hundred enraged people took control of the city.

President George Washington summoned an assembly of militiamen who would be under government jurisdiction. Approximately 13 thousand troops dispersed the riot and apprehended its leaders. The Whisky Rebellion was the first significant test of federal power for the nascent government, and it proved to be a watershed moment. Despite the collapse of the revolt, moonshining persisted throughout the United States, with concentrations in Kentucky, Virginia, the Carolinas, and other southern states, particularly in the South.

Because excise duties on alcoholic beverages did not disappear, moonshiners continued to have an incentive to operate outside the law. Gunfights between moonshiners and revenuers became the stuff of legends as a result of their brutality. These fights intensified in the 1860s as the government attempted to collect the excise tax in order to support the American Civil War (Civil War I). In several fierce conflicts, moonshiners and Ku Klux Klansmen joined forces, and the result was a stalemate.

  1. The moonshiners’ tactics became increasingly desperate and vicious as time went on, frightening residents who might be able to provide information about the locations of stills and attacking IRS inspectors and their families.
  2. The tide of public opinion began to shift against the moonshiners in the late 1800s.
  3. As the United States entered the twentieth century, the temperance movement, which aimed to prohibit the use of alcoholic beverages, gained momentum.
  4. States began adopting legislation prohibiting the sale and use of alcoholic beverages in the early 1900s.

Prohibition was officially implemented across the country in 1920. It was the most wonderful thing that the moonshiners could have wished for. All of a sudden, there was no legal alcoholic beverage accessible. The demand for moonshine soared like a rocket in the following years. Moonshiners were unable to keep up with demand, resulting in the production of cheaper, sugar-based moonshine as well as watered-down moonshine as a result. The distillers are willing to go to any length to maximize their profits. As speakeasies sprung up in every city, organized crime flourished.

These secret saloons were equipped with concealed doors, passwords, and escape routes in case the “Feds” turned up to perform a raid. Moonshine became scarce when Prohibition was lifted in 1933, causing the market to decline. Although moonshine remained to be a concern for federal authorities throughout the 1960s and 1970s, today’s courts handle only a small number of cases involving unlawful alcoholic beverages.

  • Huge commercial distilleries have the ability to purchase raw ingredients on such a large scale that, even after deducting the taxes they must pay, their products are not significantly more expensive than moonshine.
  • As a result, while several counties in the southern and midwestern United States remained “dry” (i.
  • e.
  • , alcohol-free) for decades following the end of national Prohibition, even those localized liquor laws have mostly been abolished.

There is little motivation for alcohol drinkers to seek out moonshine except than the lure of purchasing and consuming something that is “forbidden” and the defiance of government authority.

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

Moonshine

Type Whisky
Alcohol by volume At least 40%
Proof (US) At least 80°
Colour Clear
Ingredients Grain, sugar
Related products Bourbon whiskey, Corn whiskey, Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Rye whiskey, Tennessee whiskey

Known as moonshine, this high-proof whiskey has been and continues to be manufactured illegally, without the permission of the government. The term comes from a habit of making alcoholic beverages by night in order to avoid being discovered by law enforcement officers. Outside of a licensed distillery, the production of such beverages is still prohibited in the majority of nations. Recently, commercial manufacturers have begun to label some of their goods as “moonshine,” a term that has become more popular.

Terminology

  • A variety of monikers are used to describe moonshine in English, including mountain dew, choop (also known as hooch), hooch (also known as homebrew), mulekick (also known as shine), white lightning (also known as white/corn liquor), white/corn whiskey (also known as pass around), firewater (also known as bootleg).
  • Moonshine is known by several names in different languages and nations (see Moonshine by country).

Moonshine stills

In most countries, it is illegal to sell, import, or own a moonshine still unless you have authorization from the government. However, guidelines produced by home brewing aficionados and published on local brewery forums that explain where to find inexpensive equipment and how to build it into a still are frequently found. Stainless steel vessels are frequently replaced by plastic (e.g., polypropylene) vessels that can tolerate high temperatures in order to save costs. However, the principle of plastic remains the same.

  • It is possible to reach a vapor alcohol level of 95 percent ABV using a column or spiral still.
    On the basis of 48 samples, moonshine is typically distilled to 40 percent ABV and is seldom higher than 66 percent ABV. For example, ordinary pot stills typically generate 40 percent alcohol by volume and reach a peak of 60-80 percent alcohol by volume after numerous distillations. The ethanol, on the other hand, may be dried to 95 percent alcohol by heating 3A molecular sieves, such as 3A zeolite.

Evaporation stills

A plastic still is a distillation equipment that is specifically designed for the separation of ethanol from water. Plastic stills are capable of producing vapor alcohol with a level of 40 percent ABV. Plastic stills are popular for homebrewing moonshine due to the fact that they are inexpensive and simple to construct. Essentially, a smaller volume of liquid is placed in an open smaller vessel inside a bigger vessel that is sealed. This is the basic concept.

  • The liquid is preserved at around 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) by an immersion heater, which causes it to gently evaporate and condense on the inner walls of the outer vessel.
  • It is possible to guide the condensation that collects at the bottom of the jar to the bottom of the vessel by using an activated carbon filter.
  • Because the finished result contains nearly double the amount of alcohol found in the beginning liquid, the process can be repeated many more times to produce an even stronger distillate.

The approach is labor-intensive and inefficient, making it unsuitable for large-scale production.

Boiling stills

*Steam is used to pre-heat the columns on both sides. A column still, also known as a continuous still, patent still, or Coffey still, is a type of still that is made up of two columns that are connected together. A column still is capable of producing vapor alcohol with a concentration of 95 percent ABV.

Spiral still

A spiral still is a form of column still that has a basic slow air-cooled distillation equipment that is widely used for bootlegging and other illegal activities. The column and cooler are made of a copper tube that is 5 feet (15 meters) long and twisted in a spiral pattern. The tube is initially raised to serve as a basic column, and then lowered to chill the substance being processed. Cookware is often comprised of a 30-litre (6.6 imperial gal; 7.9 US gal) wine bucket made of polypropylene (pp).

Typically, a 300W dip heater is used as the heat source. Spiral burners are popular because, despite their simplicity of construction and low manufacturing costs, they can produce 95 percent ABV despite their low production costs.

Pot still

This kind of distillation device or still is used to distill flavored spirits such as whiskey or cognac, but not rectified spirits since they are ineffective at extracting congeners from the distillate. Pot stills are used for batch distillation, as opposed to continuous distillation (as opposed to a Coffey or column stills which operate on a continuous basis). Pot stills, which are traditionally made of copper, are available in a variety of forms and sizes, depending on the quantity and kind of spirit being produced.

Geographical differences in still design are evident, with particular stills becoming increasingly popular in Appalachian regions. Spirits produced in pots typically have an alcoholic content of 40 percent and reach a peak of 60 to 80 percent after numerous distillations.

Safety

  • Improperly manufactured moonshine can be polluted, mostly as a result of the materials used in the building of the still.
  • Vehicle-based stills that use vehicle radiators as condensers can be particularly hazardous;
  • in some situations, glycol generated by antifreeze might pose a health threat.
  • Radiators that are used as condensers may also contain lead at the points where they connect to the plumbing.
  • These procedures frequently resulted in blindness or lead poisoning in people who drank polluted liquor as a result of their use.

This was a problem during Prohibition, when many people died as a result of taking harmful chemicals. Consumption of lead-tainted moonshine is a significant risk factor for saturnine gout, a painful but curable medical illness that affects the kidneys and joints and is associated with a high mortality rate. Despite the fact that methanol is not created in dangerous quantities by the fermentation of sugars from grain starches, contamination can nevertheless occur when unscrupulous distillers use low-cost methanol to raise the perceived strength of the beverage.

It is possible to make moonshine more appetizing while also making it potentially less harmful by removing the “foreshot,” which is the initial few ounces of alcohol that drips from the condenser. The fact that methanol vaporizes at a lower temperature than ethanol leads to the widespread belief that the foreshot contains the vast majority of the methanol present in the mash (if any). However, according to study, this is not the case, and methanol may be found in the product until the very end of the distillation process.

  1. Despite this, distillers will often continue to collect foreshots until the temperature of the still exceeds 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Aside from that, the head that follows immediately following the foreshot is frequently contaminated with trace levels of other undesirable substances, such as acetone and other aldehydes.
  3. Fusel alcohols are another type of undesired byproduct of fermentation that is found in the “aftershot,” and which is normally discarded as a result of this.

At greater strengths (concentrations above 24 percent ABV are considered harmful by the Global Harmonized System), alcohol concentrations are flammable and hence dangerous to handle.

As a matter of fact, if proper ventilation is not given during the distillation process, vaporized alcohol can collect in the air to dangerous levels.

Adulterated moonshine

The use of impure moonshine has been shown to greatly increase the risk of kidney illness in people who consume it on a regular basis, principally as a result of the high lead level. When methanol is used to adulterate moonshine, it has been known to cause outbreaks of methanol poisoning (bootleg liquor).

Tests

Shaking a transparent container of the distillate can provide a rapid estimate of the alcoholic strength, or proof, of the distillate (the ratio of alcohol to water) in a few seconds. When there are many large bubbles that dissolve quickly, this indicates that the alcohol concentration is high, whereas smaller bubbles that disappear more slowly suggest a lower alcohol content. The use of an alcoholmeter or a hydrometer is a more reliable means of testing.

When determining the potential alcohol percent of moonshine during and after the fermenting process, a hydrometer is utilized, whereas an alcoholmeter is used after the product has been distilled to ascertain the volume percent or proof.

Myth

  1. A typical jar of moonshine is shown here.
  2. It was formerly mistakenly thought that the presence of a blue flame indicated that the water was safe to drink.
  3. A popular folk test for the quality of moonshine was to pour a tiny amount of it onto a spoon and then light it on fire to see how it turned out.

Apparently, a safe distillate burns with a blue flame, but an unclean distillate burns with a yellow flame, according to this theory: This simple test was also used to determine whether or not lead was present in the distillate, which resulted in a crimson flame when a radiator coil was used as the condenser, according to practitioners of the simple test. As a result, the mnemonic “Lead burns red and kills you” or “Red signifies dead” came to be popular.

In addition, other harmful components, such as methanol, cannot be discovered with a simple burn test since methanol flames are blue in color and difficult to spot in natural light.

Legality

The Moonshine Man of Kentucky, an image from Harper’s Weekly published in 1877 depicting five episodes from the life of a Kentucky moonshiner, may be found here. Museum exhibit featuring a vintage moonshine distillation apparatus When it comes to illicit booze, moonshine has traditionally been defined as “clear, unaged whiskey,” which was previously manufactured using barley in Scotland and Ireland or corn mash in the United States, however sugar has become just as frequent in the last century.

  • The term was coined in the British Isles as a result of excise rules, but it only gained significance in the United States after a levy was enacted during the Civil War that prohibited the use of non-registered distilleries.
  • During the Prohibition era (1920-1933), when the Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution enforced a comprehensive prohibition on alcohol manufacture, illegal distillation increased in popularity.
  • Since the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in 1933, legislation has focused on the evasion of taxation on all types of spirits and intoxicating liquors.

Formerly enforced by the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, applicable statutes are now more often handled by state authorities in most cases. Enforcement agents were once referred to as “revenuers,” which was a vernacular term for them.

Etymology

The first documented usage of the phrase “moonshine” being used to refer to illegal alcoholic beverages dates back to a 1785 edition of Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, which was published in England. The term “moonshine” once applied to anything that was “illusory” or to the physical light emitted by a rising or setting moon.

Consequently, because the United States Government deems the phrase “fanciful term” and does not control its usage on the labels of commercial products, legal moonshines may include any type of spirit, as long as the type of spirit is clearly mentioned elsewhere on the label.

Process

The moonshine distilling process was carried out at night to avoid detection. While moonshiners could be found in both urban and rural locations across the United States during the Civil War, moonshine production centered in Appalachia because the region’s poor road network made it simple to dodge tax collectors and because transporting maize crops was difficult and expensive. According to the findings of a survey of farmers in Cocke County, Tennessee: “If the maize was first transformed into whiskey, it would be possible to carry far more value.

  • One horse could carry 10 times the amount of liquor that it could carry in corn on its back.
  • ” Moonshiners in Harlan County, Kentucky, such as Maggie Bailey, made a living by selling moonshine in order to support their households.
  • Others, such as Amos Owens of Rutherford County, North Carolina, and Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton of Maggie Valley, North Carolina, made a living selling moonshine in the surrounding area.
  • The Discovery Channel broadcasted a documentary on Sutton’s life called “Moonshiners” that chronicled his life.

It was reportedly stated by a bootlegger that the malt (a blend of maize, barley, and rye) is what makes the basic moonshine formula function properly. Although the phrase “moonshine” is no longer in common usage, it nevertheless indicates that the liquor is unlawfully made, and it is often used on the labels of legal products to sell them as delivering a banned drinking experience.

Drivers known as “runners” or “bootleggers,” who transported moonshine and “bootleg” (illegally imported) whiskey around the region in automobiles that had been particularly modified for speed and load-carrying capability, were known as “bootleggers” or “bootleggers.” In appearance, the automobiles were conventional, but on the inside, they had been upgraded with beefier engines, more interior space, and heavy-duty shock absorbers to hold the weight of the illicit booze.

As a result of the repeal of Prohibition, the out-of-work drivers were able to keep their talents sharp by participating in organized races, which resulted in the founding of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). A number of previous “runners” went on to become well-known drivers in the sport.

See also

  • Applejack (drink)
  • Bootleggers and Baptists
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
  • Congener (alcohol)
  • Dixie mafia, farmhouse ale, free beer, homebrewing, Kilju, and other terms.
    Moonshine as depicted in popular culture
    Nip joint, rum-running, and sour mash are all options.

Further reading

  • The image above depicts “cow shoes worn by American moonshiners during the Prohibition era to conceal their tracks, 1924.” 14th of May, 2021, according to Kottke.org. Retrieved on the 4th of October, 2021.

References

  • (Spring–Fall 2012) Peine, Emelie K., and Schafft, Kai A., Minnesota 13: “Wet” Wild Prohibition Days (2007) ISBN 978-0-9798017-0-9
  • Davis, Elaine. (Spring–Fall 2007). « Moonshine, Mountaineers, and Modernity: Distilling Cultural History in the Southern Appalachian Mountains» is the title of a research project. Journal of Appalachian Studies, published by the Appalachian Studies Association, volume 18, number 1, pages 93–112. Rowley, Matthew
  • JSTOR 23337709
  • Rowley, Matthew. Moonshine! A History, Songs, Stories, and How-Tos (2007) ISBN 978-1-57990-648-1
  • Watman, Max. Moonshine! A History, Songs, Stories, and How-Tos (2007) ISBN 978-1-57990-648-1 Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine (2010) ISBN 978-1-4391-7024-3
  • Jeff King, Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine (2010) ISBN 978-1-4391-7024-3
  • Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine (2010) ISBN 978-1-4391-7024-3
  • Chasing the White Dog: An The Home Distiller’s Workbook: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making Moonshine, Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, and a Ton of Other Spirits! The year is 2012, and the ISBN is 978-1-4699-8939-6.

External links

  • “Moonshine – Blue Ridge Style,” a joint exhibition by the Blue Ridge Institute and the Museum of Ferrum College, is on display through March 31.
    A one-hour Irish documentary film about the beginnings of the craft, Déants an Phoitn (Poteen Making), directed by Mac Dara Curraidhn (produced in 1998), is also recommended.
    North Carolina is a state in the United States. Moonshine – information, photographs, music, and video snippets from the past and present
  • The Alcohol and Drugs History Society maintains a moonshine news page.
    Georgia Moonshine – History and folklore of moonshine in the state of Georgia, United States
  • “Moonshine ‘tempts new generation,'” according to the BBC, when it comes to illicit liquor distillation in the twenty-first century.
    Still from the past: Moonshine in Franklin County, Virginia – Video

It may be defined as any type of alcoholic beverage that is produced in secret in order to evade excessive taxes or prohibitions on alcoholic beverages. The word “moonshine” was coined in the United Kingdom. When it was first coined, the term “moonshining” referred to any action that was carried out in the dark of the night by the light of the moon. Moonshine is made from a few simple ingredients: maize meal, sugar, yeast, and water. The formula for whiskey is quite similar to that of rum. When moonshine or whiskey is originally produced, it is always clear in color. When you buy a bottle of whiskey off the shelf at your local liquor shop, it has been matured for years in charred oak barrels, which gives it its amber color and mellow flavor profile. Moonshine does not require any maturation. Due to the fact that it is bottled and sold directly from the still, it is clear and has a stronger kick.

You may have seen moonshine that has been blended with fruit, such as cherries or strawberries, at some of your local liquor stores. This moonshine will have a tinted look as a result of the fruit that has been used in its preparation.

Moonshiners, Bootleggers, and Rumrunners

Operators of illicit whiskey stills performed their operations at night in order to escape discovery by law enforcement agencies, earning them the nickname “Moonshiners” for their efforts. Bootleggers were the individuals that Moonshiners used to convey their illicit alcoholic beverages to their customers. The word “bootlegger” stems from colonial times when smugglers traveled on horseback with their alcoholic beverages disguised in their tall riding boots, thus the name. During the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, bootleggers exchanged their horses for automobiles. These later bootleggers honed their mechanical talents as they modified their automobiles to accommodate bigger springs to handle the weight of the booze and greater horsepower to aid them in their efforts to evade the authorities and escape capture. NASCAR was created as a result of this fascination with automobiles and speed. One week prior to the event, the winner of the first-ever NASCAR race had used his automobile to sneak illegal alcoholic beverages into the country. Rumrunners are essentially the same as bootleggers, with the exception that they transport their contraband via the water, employing swift vessels with disguised cargo hold compartments.

How is Moonshine Made?

The processes of fermentation and distillation are essential in the production of alcohol. Yeast fermentation is a chemical event that takes place when sugar is broken down by the yeast. One of the byproducts of this process is alcohol. Evaporating the alcohol at 172 degrees Celsius and collecting the steam before condensing it back into liquid form is the process of distillation. Procedure for Making Moonshine: Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Corn meal is made by grinding it up. Most commercial hog feed is composed of maize, and it is inexpensive and easy to obtain without drawing too much notice. Corn meal is steeped in hot water in the still before being infused with other ingredients to make whiskey. Sugar is occasionally added, although traditional moonshiners use malt to convert the starch in the maize meal into sugar, which is a process that takes time. It is next necessary to add the yeast, which kick-starts the fermentation process. This combination, known as mash, is well churned before being cooked in the still for a certain period of time. When making bourbon, copper is often used for the still and all metal piping since it transmits heat effectively and does not contaminate the alcohol. A heat source is utilized to get the mash temperature up to around 172 degrees Fahrenheit. Stills have been heated using wood, coal, and even steam in the past, but today’s stills are generally heated with propane gas
  • At this point, the alcohol is completely evaporated. As the pressure in the still develops, the alcohol steam is driven via the cap arm, which is a pipe that comes out of the top of the still
  • The steam then travels into the thump keg, which is just a barrel into which the steam is forced to the bottom as the pressure in the still builds. In honor of the thumping sound generated by the steam being driven under the level of alcohol in the barrel, the thump keg was given this name. At this stage, the proof of the alcohol steam is doubled
  • The steam continues into the worm, which is a coiled piece of pipe that spirals along the interior of the worm box
  • And the steam continues into the worm. Water is poured into the top of the worm box from a nearby water source and then expelled through the bottom of the crate or barrel, which is known as a worm chamber. This keeps the worm immersed in cold water that is continually moving, which helps to condense the alcohol vapour into liquid.
    When the worm’s end is reached, the alcohol drains into a pail or container.
    A proving barrel is then used to equalize the quantity of alcohol in the moonshine and mix it to get the correct proof.
    The clear liquid that results from this process is ready to be packaged or jarred and sold.

Up to date on COVID-19: We are fully operational at this time and ship daily, Monday through Friday. This site is intended solely for educational reasons and does not include advertisements. For further information, please see our entire overview. The 16th of November, 2018 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. 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. In fact, the flavor of the maize will most likely disguise the true strength of this beverage, making it extremely deadly. The video below shows an all-grain mash that includes a little amount of malted barley to help in starch conversion.

In the absence of a distillers permission, we begin the movie by discussing how to make all-grain corn whiskey mash and then add sugar to transform it into a fuel alcohol formula, which is then seen in action.

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

However, while it is lawful to make the mash indicated above, distilling it is not. Continue reading for more information on the laws of distilling.

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.
  • Alternatively, when producing fuel alcohol, as we shown in the video, the initial alcohol % may and should be set at a high level in order to optimize the yield.
  • We were able to boost the initial alcohol percentage of the beer by adding granulated sugar after the mash.
  • Following steps 1-6 above, we made thin mash and then just added granulated sugar before continuing on to step 7.
  • It’s important to remember that preparing this mash is legal.
  • Distilling it, on the other hand, is not.
  • Continue reading for more information on the laws of distilling.
  • Please keep in mind that we normally add yeast nutrition to any mash that is not made entirely from grain or that has an alcohol content more than 10%.
  • The table below illustrates how the addition of sugar raises the alcohol by volume (ABV).
  • According to the data, 8lbs of sugar would be required to raise the sugar content of a 5 gallon corn mash from 10 percent to 19.
  • 5 percent (which would necessitate an increase of 9.
  • 5 percent).
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

According to what we’ve stated multiple times in this post and hundreds of times on our website, distilling alcohol without the required authorization is against the law. 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. This will cause the ethanol to boil, but it will also leave behind water. Why? Because ethanol boils at 174 degrees Fahrenheit and water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

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. With somewhat varying boiling temperatures, each of these compounds will be volatilized in the still and removed from it at a little different moment during the distillation process. Foreshots The foreshots are the initial 10 percent or so of the distillate that is produced. This should be disposed of immediately since it might contain methanol and hence be toxic. Heads The second section of the run is referred to as the heads section. Acetone, acetaldehyde, and acetate are among the chemicals found in the heads. These chemicals are unpalatable and have an unpleasant odor. Set them aside for the time being. Hearts The hearts contain ethanol as well as other beneficial substances. They have a strong scent and flavor, and they are rather smooth.

Keep this in mind. Tails The richness of the middle section of the run will diminish into what are referred to as the tails of the run. 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

  1. Is distillation a legal activity?
  2. According to federal regulations, possessing a still of any size is legal and does not necessitate the acquisition of a permit.
  3. It must be noted, however, that the still must be used, or intended to be used, solely for the distillation of non-alcoholic substances.
  4. 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.
  5. Additionally, several states restrict the possession of stills under all circumstances, regardless of the usage or intended use of the object.
  6. The distillation equipment offered by Clawhammer Supply is developed and intended for usage solely in legal situations, and the information contained in this page is intended to be instructional in nature.
  7. We encourage you to read our comprehensive legal statement for further information on the legality of distillation.

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. Needless to say, I recoiled instantaneously, thinking: Who would drink this? The response, of course, differs from whiskey connoisseurs 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. So, what exactly is moonshine, and how did it go from being one of the most illegal alcoholic beverages available in the United States to becoming a popular choice among mixologists and artisan distillers? Photograph by Valery Rizzo For purists, the spirit is defined as a handmade, unaged whiskey distinguished by its clear color, corn-based basis, and high alcohol concentration, which can reach as high as 190 proof in some instances. Tradition dictated that it be manufactured in a home-made still and then packaged in a mason jar. 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. The spirit swiftly established itself as a cornerstone of Southern culture. However, at the same time as its popularity was at its zenith, the government’s interest in taxing was waning. It was Alexander Hamilton who, in 1791, placed a tax on whiskey manufacture, thereby rendering any untaxed moonshine manufacturing illegal under federal law. 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. 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 over the course of 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. This is due to the fact that it is difficult to create. “Moonshine is one of America’s best spirits, but it’s really difficult to create extraordinarily well since it’s unaged, which makes it particularly difficult.” “Taras Hrabowsky, a moonshine maker, discusses his process. “Oak barrels are employed to rectify flavor characteristics in old spirits, which are matured for a longer period of time. Making moonshine that can stand on its own, without the strong oak qualities that we associate with whiskey, becomes increasingly difficult. When you locate the good thing, you’ll understand why people are so enthusiastic about it.” Hrabowsky should be aware of this. A burgeoning movement is working to put good—and legal—moonshine on the map, and he’s a part of it. The distillation of alcohol without a distilled spirits permit is still prohibited; nevertheless, popular liquor businesses are redefining the spirit by producing their booze in distilleries and marketing it to the general public. There are a few new-age brands that stand out above the others. A moonshine named White Dog is produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. The name of the drink comes from a popular vernacular nickname for the drink. 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. Midnight Moon, named after the legendary moonshiner and NASCAR racer Junior Johnson, is manufactured by Piedmont Distillers in North Carolina, the state’s first licensed distillery since the repeal of Prohibition. 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. (You can get the recipe for apple pie moonshine on this page.) Hrabowsky’s Standard Wormwood Distillery is located in Brooklyn’s Pfizer building, and its product is created with equal parts maize and rye, as opposed to the typical Southern moonshine, which is made only from corn. For Hrabowsky and Sasha Selimotic, “the peppery spice rye gives on the end” is their preferred style of beer. The pair’s goal is to establish moonshine as a staple at the city’s top pubs, and so far, it’s working. A cocktail called Dream of a Mountain is served in a smoked glass at Montana’s Trail House, which is owned by Hrabowsky’s favorite Brooklyn establishment, Montana’s Trail House. The drink is made with Standard Wormwood Distillery’s moonshine, honey and orange liqueur, Aperol, and bitters from the Angostura distillery. The Wayland, located in the East Village, serves an I Hear Banjos moonshine cocktail, which is made with apple and spices. Standard Wormwood Distillery is depicted in this photograph. Even though Hrabowsky feels that the future of moonshine is unpredictable, he is encouraged to see an increase in the number of craft distilleries pushing the boundaries to develop sipping moonshines, rather than ushering in a new era for the distilled spirit.

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

  1. Photograph by Scott Olson / Getty Images Home-distilled moonshine, formerly a closely guarded secret of Appalachian backwoods, is still in existence to this day.
  2. In fact, it is now officially legal.
  3. “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.
  4. Several other states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky, followed suit, as did Tennessee, which saw the nation’s first legal moonshine distillery open its doors in 2010.
  5. The number of illegal moonshine stills in operation in the United States has been estimated to be more than a million, making the manufacture of the clear, high-potency drink more ubiquitous and pervasive than it has ever been in history.
  6. Furthermore, due to the materials, byproducts, and flammability of the result, it is potentially exceedingly dangerous to create at home.

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. While the term “moonshine” may conjure up traditional ideas of “country-folk” distilling and carrying their strong potables in jugs labeled “XXX” in the middle of the night to evade discovery, the reality is far more complex. 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 an increase in the use of marijuana, as well as an increase in the use of prescription opioids, which reached epidemic levels in the region. Moonshine appears to have had a rebirth in recent years. With the current trend toward increasing costs at the liquor shop, particularly for foreign spirits, moonshining has re-entered the public consciousness. Approximately one million Americans were found to be violating the law by creating moonshine in 2010, according to a BBC investigation on moonshine production in the United States. Tennessee legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages at large box retailers such as Walmart and Sam’s Club the following year. Stills constructed entirely of copper are available for purchase on the internet from websites ranging from 1-gallon personal models to 220-gallon business operations.

They are available for purchase for anything from $150 to $11,000, and everything in between. The demand for copper stills, according to one supplier, has more than doubled in the last few years, and he has sold copper stills to every state in the United States.

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

  1. The distillation process itself generates flammable alcohol vapors, which are released during the operation.
  2. The presence of flammable vapors is one of the primary reasons that moonshine stills are nearly always situated outside, despite the fact that this makes them more visible to law authorities.
  3. The danger of vaporous explosions is too large to be contained within the building.
  4. When it comes to eating the liquid, if the end result has a proof more than 100, the moonshine itself is incredibly flammable and may be quite hazardous.

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. Antifreeze glycol components left over from outdated radiators might also be included in the brew, adding more poisons to the potent concoction. Methanol tainting may develop in bigger quantities of distilled moonshine, and it is especially common in older batches. It is possible that the initial liquid generated by the distillation process will contain methanol, because methanol evaporates at a lower temperature than alcohol. The greater the batch size, the greater the amount of methanol. Most moonshine producers nowadays are aware of the need of pouring out the initial drippings from the condenser, often known as the foreshot, although not all of them are aware of or perform this procedure. 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. Due to the fact that the United States produces millions of gallons of moonshine each year, the likelihood that some of it may be polluted is very high.

Health experts are concerned that the presence of moonshine toxicity in unwell people may be undetected since most healthcare practitioners regard it to be a relic of a more distant period.

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. “The phrase stems from the fact that it is done at night so that the smoke from the still will not be seen to onlookers. 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. Moonshine was first sold in clay jugs, and then in mason jars, before being packed in glass bottles. 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.

When you watch movies, have you ever been curious about how they claim to manufacture moonshine in their bathtub at home? It’s not like it’s rocket science, after all! It’s actually rather simple to create at your own convenience. Make sure to read this article on moonshine, which includes some fascinating facts about the drink! How to Make Your Own Moonshine

What Is Moonshine?

Moonshine is a distilled alcoholic beverage that can be manufactured from any grain or fruit, depending on what is available to the distiller. Corn is used as the fermentable sugar in the traditional recipe. While it is possible to use other types of alcohol, such as Everclear, in your beverages, where is the fun in that?

History of Moonshine

Firstly, some pretty fascinating information about moonshine before we get started on how to produce your first batch of homemade moonshine will be shared with you. The word “moonshine” comes from the fact that it is unlawful to produce and thus must be done at night or under the light (or shine) of the moon. Farmers employed this to supplement their income throughout the historical period since low-value maize harvests could be transformed into high-value whiskey. Because of the high level of alcohol taxation in the United States, the government had a hand in this. When the Prohibition era began in the United States, all alcoholic beverages were made illegal. Illegal alcoholic beverages, such as moonshine, were transformed overnight into one of the most successful enterprises in the country. This was also the period in which speakeasies were prominent (with with secret entrances, passwords, and other features!).

When alcohol became once again legal, the good times came to an end. But, whenever you take a sip of this alcoholic beverage, keep in mind that you are drinking something that has played a significant role in American history!

Choosing Your Type of Moonshine Mash

  • Moonshine may be prepared from a variety of mashes that contain a variety of different components.
  • There are also a variety of recipes you may experiment with, depending on the taste you want to emphasize the most.
  • In this article, we’ll show you how to make the most fundamental recipe so that you may build on it in the future.

The Classic: Corn Whiskey

Consequently, purists recommend using a corn whiskey mash, which produces the characteristic smooth and full-flavored moonshine that everyone knows and loves. Specifically, this is the recipe that we will be looking at in this article. However, you should experiment to find out what you enjoy the most!

The Sugar Shine

Nowadays, many individuals like to use sugar to enhance the appearance of their food. This is the most popular choice for novices and people who want to truly play with the tastes of their shine because it does not require any mash and yet produces the same alcohol content. Moonshiners can manufacture anything they want with the right stilling kit, including apple pie and chocolate-flavored moonshine. It all depends on the recipe you choose to follow or develop on your own. The fundamental procedure is dissolving sugar in water and pasteurizing it (if desired), after which you add the yeast nutrient and yeast to the good stuff to ferment.

The Hybrid

  • This concoction is simply a mashup of the two that came before it.
  • There are a lot of individuals who utilize this method since it is a more easy and cost-effective way to make moonshine that comes quite close to the original taste of moonshine.
  • It allows you to double your yield while utilizing the same amount of corn by substituting table sugar for a portion of the corn.

How to Make Moonshine: What You Will Need

Some recipes ask for a one-to-one substitution. For example, you will need 1 gallon of water for every 1 pound of sugar and 1 pound of corn meal you want to use for baking. Feel free to try different things and find what works best for you!

Equipment

Note: Make sure your bucket has a lid and an air-lock before you start digging.

For the Fermentation Process

  1. The first item you’ll need for brewing moonshine is a mash, which is a mixture of grains.
  2. What you use for this step will be determined on the flavor you desire.

Please keep in mind that the components we listed above will vary depending on the formula you use if you are preparing something other than the conventional corn-barley-yeast moonshine.

Step 2: Fermenting Your Mash

Now that you have your mash, let it aside to ferment for 1 to 2 weeks at room temperature before using it. Keep in mind that the temperature plays a crucial role in your achievement. Because the yeast will fall dormant if the temperature drops too low, the fermentation process may come to a halt. Keep in mind that yeast prefers a warm and wet environment. The yeast is responsible for consuming all of the sugar content and converting it to alcohol. The greatest results are obtained by using a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of your mixture both before it begins fermenting and after it has finished fermenting to guarantee that your combination has completely used all of its sugar.

By doing so, you will be able to utilize a formula to determine how much ABV (alcohol by volume) was created throughout your fermentation. Record the specific gravity readings at the start of the fermentation process and at the conclusion of the fermentation process.

Straining

After the fermentation period has ended, remove the mash water from the combination using a siphon. By straining everything through a cheesecloth, you can ensure that all of the solid debris and sediment is left behind. Fill a jar halfway with the filtered mash water and set aside. Step 2 (Advanced): (Optional) Some distillers choose to add 2 teaspoons of gypsum to the mash water at this point in the process. After that, they conduct a pH test on the mash water. The pH level should be between 5.8 and 6.0 under ideal conditions. By adding citric acid, you can lower the pH of the solution, and by adding calcium carbonate, you may raise it.

Step 3: Distilling

  • You’ve completed the most difficult phase in the process of creating mash water for your moonshine: boiling the water.
  • Simply distill your mash water to remove all of the alcohol content and separate it into a pure form is all that remains.
  • Keep in mind that, like the mash preparation process, the distillation process is both a science and an art form.
  • Keep in mind that it will take a lot of practice and trial and error before you become proficient in this area, so be patient with yourself.
  • We strongly advise you to take notes during the distillation and moonshine-making process so that you may identify areas for improvement when you start a fresh batch of your product.

Prepping Your Still

In order to maintain cleanliness, you must keep your equipment clean even when it is not in use. Though you leave it empty for a long period of time, even if you cleaned it after the last time you used it, you will need to wash it again since it has become dirty. This is crucial, especially if you are utilizing copper stills that have already begun to show signs of salt accumulation. Consequently, before to transferring your mash water, make certain that your still has been well cleaned and washed. Now, you may include packaging in your column. It should be packed with the appropriate amount of packing material for your particular arrangement. If your arrangement includes a condenser, make sure you connect it to both the water input and output. After all of your preparation work, it’s finally time to fill the still with your mash water. Transfer the mash water into your still using cheesecloth or an auto-siphon, making sure to include any of the solid debris that may have been left behind. You should keep in mind that you want to limit the quantity of sediment in your corn mash water to the greatest extent feasible.

Running Your Still

It is the process of separating distinct compounds from one another by taking use of the differences in evaporation temperatures between the substances that is referred to as distilling. This technique does not result in the production of alcohol because the yeast has already done so for you throughout the fermentation phase. This is most likely one of the most critical phases in the production of your alcoholic beverage.

It merely serves to separate the alcohol from the other constituents of your mash water, not to purify it. Make certain that your still is positioned such that the drips from it fall into a clear glass container. Consequently, here’s what you must do:

IMPORTANT: Avoid having your moonshine leak into a plastic container, since this might contaminate your drink with BPA and cause other problems.

Step 4: Collecting Your Distillate

  1. You’ve successfully completed the process of manufacturing moonshine!
  2. All that is required is that you collect it together with the remainder of your distillation’s yield.

Collecting Foreshots

These are the initial 5 percent of the liquid separated by your distillation process, which is referred to as the foreshots. The foreshots have the highest concentration of alcohols that evaporate the earliest in your corn mash water. It’s important to remember that this should never be consumed. Methanol may be included in foreshots, and ingesting it can be quite harmful. Methanol has the potential to make you blind as well as create other health concerns. If you’re going to do it, you might as well use rocket fuel to get it done. Make a second container to collect the foreshots in, and then toss that container away.

Collecting Heads

The heads, like the foreshots, contain volatile alcohols, which you should aim to avoid eating as much as possible. While this will not cause you to go blind, it will cause you to suffer from a severe hangover, which is not really pleasant. After you have deleted the foreshots from your goods, the heads account for the remaining 30% of the total. This “solvent” fragrance is caused by the alcohols in them, particularly the acetone that is found in the heads. Gather the heads once again and place them in a separate container before disposing of them.

Collecting Hearts

  1. The remaining 30 percent, which is produced by your distillation process, is primarily composed of ethanol.
  2. This is the type of material you should be collecting and preserving.
  3. By now, the unpleasant, solvent smell that you detected in the heads should have vanished from your product.
  4. This is the time when the flavor of your moonshine, or whatever flavor you desire from your recipes, should emerge.
  5. Your product should have a smooth and pleasant flavor to it.
  6. It is at this point that your abilities and experience will be put to use.
  7. It is critical that you properly separate the hearts in order to optimize your production.

Collecting Tails

With your product approaching the end of its lifespan, you will reach the conclusion of its ethanol lifecycle and go on to its last stage: the tails.. Tails account for around 35 percent of your total production. They will also have a distinct flavor due to the use of the hearts. You’ll notice that the sweetness from the sugar has been much reduced in comparison to before. Even the top layer of your alcohol will have an oily appearance. Because of the water, carbs, and proteins in it, it will also feel slick when you rub your fingers between your fingers. You may either save the tails for subsequent distillation or toss them away immediately after harvesting.

Step 5: Proper Storage

Congratulations!

You’ve had a successful run, completed the full process, and are now the proud owner of your very own moonshine! Remember to clean up your entire setup, allow it to dry completely, and then store it in a cold, dry environment.

Final Words

As a word of caution, make sure you are aware of the regulations in your nation regarding the production of alcoholic beverages at home. While possessing a still for the purpose of manufacturing essential oils or distilling water is acceptable, things become more complicated when it comes to distilling spirits. Now, go ahead and test it out for yourself! Wishing you the best of success on your moonshine run! Karl S. is a marketing leader, brewer, father, and spouse. Basically, he’s an all-around great person.

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