Whether you are just starting to brew moonshine at home, or already have a lot of experience in creating fun recipes for moonshine, safety is still a very important factor to keep in mind. If not done carefully, making moonshine can have unintended consequences. Here are 5 safety tips that you should always keep in mind:
1. Use only high quality moonshine stills
At Hillbilly Stills, we make it our highest priority to use only the highest quality materials to make a still. Stills are made primarily from two materials, copper and stainless steel. One can make stills from old sheet metals or scraps from a bigger project but it should always be made with high quality copper, or stainless steel, and soldered without lead. It is important that you thoroughly research the still you are buying and invest only in the best one you can afford.
2. Set up distillation outside
When you buy a new still, be sure to first read the safety instructions carefully. It will most likely tell you to set up your still outside to keep small accidents from turning into big accidents. Distilling outside also makes it less likely that your still’s outlet is not blocked which can lead to excessive pressures.
Bonus Tip: Keep the fire extinguisher within reach at all times.
3. Save the celebrating until after you’ve finished your batch.
When you are making moonshine, you need to be fully alert and be close to the set up. Making moonshine is an experiment as you are always trying out new recipes and accidents can happen if the experiment goes wrong. You should always be nearby and sober so that you are 100% aware of your surroundings to make quick decisions and minimize risks.
4. Run regular maintenance checks
Not only should you invest in high quality moonshine equipment, you should also take efforts to maintain it. Cracks and leaks can be dangerous because escaping alcohol vapors can lead to explosions. At the very least you run the risk of leaking expensive alcohol (that’s called alcohol abuse where I come from). Most commonly folks run a batch of water through the pot still to detect any leaks. We recommend quickly running alcohol instead as water will promote corrosion, the green junk that forms on copper. Usually you can seal the leak by soldering a piece of metal or applying a flour paste. You could also talk to your still manufacturer to get the best solution for repairing your still.
5. Experiment with care & talk to the experts
Making moonshine is a fun science experiment. You try out various recipes to figure out the best tastes to your liking. However, you’ll want to be sure to throw away the first bit of your run, also known as foreshots. Make sure you have the right quantity and quality of ingredients. If not sure, ask others, or ask on the Hillbilly Stills Facebook page. The moonshiner community is very helpful and is always willing to share their experiences.