How Do You Make Moonshine?

How Do You Make Moonshine?

While it may have a dubious history, moonshining, or “shinin’” has developed into something of an art form. At its essence, moonshine is just unaged and or flavored alcohol fermented from a wide variety of sources. Moonshine is traditionally fermented from corn, but you’ll also find moonshine fermented from other sources, like grain.

There are many different ways to create moonshine and add a personal touch to the end result, however, the traditional method always revolves around three basic steps: fermentation, distillation and collecting the distillate.

The Basics of Making Alcohol

It’s possible to make alcohol out of any grain, fruit or vegetable that goes through fermentation. This process is essentially the chemical reaction that occurs between two basic ingredients – a yeast breaks down sugar.

For moonshiners, the base ingredient of choice is a corn mixture called a “mash.” A 5-gallon mash-yeast mixture will typically take two weeks to ferment.

After the corn mash is fermented, the alcohol must be distilled.

Distillation involves heating the alcohol turning it into steam. This separates the actual alcohol content from the mash. This requires having a still furnace to boil the mash mixture and a still cap with a distilling flute that allows the vapors to filter into a new holding tank. From there, some moonshiners will prime their distillation with more alcohol or cool down the alcohol into a condensed liquid form. The distillation process is based on the fact that alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water.

Before you can collect the distillate, the alcohol must run through a condenser that is cooled by water or ice. Bootleggers would often set up their stills along a river or creek and run the distillate through pipes submerged in water to cool the alcohol down. Today, most distillers have a 3rd chamber that has cooled copper tubing running throughout.

Once cooled, the filtered moonshine will then drain out of a spout at the end of the condenser.

Remember, the first 5 percent of your production should be thrown out. This is extra-strong methanol that is dangerous to consume. The trick to making good moonshine is finding the best portion of distillate. Therefore, you should expect a bit of trial and error for your first batch.

What You Need to Make Moonshine

While the basic ingredients and process of making of moonshine are simple, it’s important to have the appropriate equipment available so you can distill effectively and safely.

Typical Distilling Ingredients

To add extra kick or flavor, some moonshiners incorporate certain fruits, yeast nutrients or even more alcohol into the process, called a “thump.”

To successfully do a run of moonshine you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Mash pot – used to mix the mash and heat the mixture to generate the alcohol steam
  • Heating source – this can be an electric or gas burner underneath the mash pot
  • Distilling Column – this is where the the alcohol vapor rises and moves through the cool vertical copper column
  • Condenser, or Lyne Arm – once the highest percentage alcohol steam travels through the distilling column it condenses into another cooler metal pipe where the mixture cools down and turns back into a liquid
  • Barrel or Aging – the clear ethanol typically needs to go through some sort of flavoring or aging process, so most distilling setups have a post run flavoring/storage component like oak barrels

If you’re interested in getting into moonshine and home distilling, you can get all the essential ingredient and supplies over at Hillbilly Stills.

Moonshine Recipes For Run In The Sun

Moonshine Recipes For Run In The Sun

Mojito – Mixing Instructions:

  • Muddle 3-4 mint leaves in the bottom of a glass.
  • Juice your limes,  or substitute with a 1/4 a cup of lime juice.
  • Mix in agave or syrup, with alcohol.
  • Pour over ice and enjoy!

Bahama Mama – Mixing Instructions:

  • Bring coconut water, pineapple juice, and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Let it cool.
  • Mix with alcohol and let sit for a few days before drinking for maximum flavors.

Salty Apple – Mixing Instructions:

  • Mix with grapefruit juice and salt with apple pie moonshine.
  • Let it cool.
  • Mix it with alcohol and serve over ice!
  • Enjoy!

Lemon Drop – Mixing Instructions:

  • Bring sugar, water, and lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Let it cool.
  • Mix it with alcohol
  • Let it sit for a few days before drinking for the best flavor.

Strawberry Moonshine – Mixing Instructions:

  • Mash and strain the berries to a pulp. (Overripe berries work best!)
  • Simmer berries, sugar, and water in a saucepan.
  • Let it cool.
  • Mix with moonshine, and let it sit for a few days before drinking for the flavors to intensify!

Peach Cobbler – Mixing Instructions:

  • Cut and peel peaches.
  • For a stronger flavor let peaches ripen and mash them.
  • Bring peaches, brown sugar, and water to a boil.
  • Let it cool.
  • Mix with moonshine and let it sit for a few days before drinking for the flavors to intensify!
How To Make Moonshine: Fall Edition

How To Make Moonshine: Fall Edition

Pumpkin Pie Moonshine:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 2½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups 190 proof grain alcohol
  • 2 cups whipped cream vodka

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Stir thoroughly.
  3. Evenly distribute moonshine into clean mason jars with a ½ inch of space under the brim
  4. Place lids on jars and allow to sit in refrigerator for 1 month before enjoying.
  5. Please enjoy responsibly.

Pineapple Coconut Moonshine:

Ingredients:

  • 750 ml of Moonshine (or Everclear)
  • 1 qt of pineapple juice
  • 16 oz can of coconut water
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 tbl of brown sugar
  • two 1 qt mason jars

Instructions:

  1. Put pineapple juice, coconut water, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a pan bring to a boil.
  2. Take it off the element once it boils and let it cool.
  3. Split the bottle of moonshine (or Everclear) into the two mason jars and add the juice from the pan as well as a cinnamon stick to each jar.
  4. Wait at least a couple weeks for the flavors to blend, then enjoy!

 

Caramel Apple Moonshine:

Ingredients

  • 2 qts apple juice
  • 2 qts apple cider
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 10 caramel candies (unwrapped)
  • 500 ml Junior Johnson Moonshine
  • 250 ml Caramel Vodka

Instructions

  1. Combine the apple juice, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, light brown sugar, white sugar and caramel candies in a large pot.
  2. Bring up to a gentle boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for at least 1 hour, longer is okay.
  3. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Strain out the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  5. Add in the moonshine and caramel vodka, stir to combine.
  6. Bottle it up in some mason jars and either chill in the refrigerator or store in a cool place.
  7. Enjoy!!!
Coconut Sunrise Moonshine Recipe

Coconut Sunrise Moonshine Recipe

Sweet summertime calls for a sweet treat like this Coconut Moonshine Recipe!

Looking for a nice, sweet summertime treat? Try this sweet coconut sunrise recipe while relaxing by the pool this summer. We get a lot of people that ask us how to make moonshine and for recipes.  We found a really good coconut moonshine recipe that we wanted to share with you. It’s perfect for those days when you are just relaxing outside or hanging out with a few friends.

What you will need:

  • 3 liters of a coconut flavored moonshine
  • 1 jigger of grenadine
  • 5 cups of orange juice
  • shredded coconut
  • maraschino cherries

Instructions:

  1. Combine the moonshine, grenadine and orange juice. Shake until well mixed
  2. Pour into your favorite mason jar filled with ice
  3. Garnish with coconut and maraschino cherries
  4. Head out to the pool and enjoy!

Let us know what you think of this nice coconut moonshine recipe!  We hope you all are having a great summer!

Cheers!

 

Is Moonshine Illegal?

If you are interested in making moonshine for personal or commercial use, you are likely wondering if this prospective hobby is legal or not. Learning the laws related to moonshine and home distilleries is a wise move that can keep you out of potential trouble when...

So You Want to be a Home Distiller

So You Want to be a Home Distiller

The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when they hear home distiller or home distillery is a picture of that prohibition era man in his overalls distilling in the woods. This is not the case! Home Distilling is becoming more popular by the day.  So what should you do if you want to begin distilling?

1. Check the Law Book

First and foremost, you need to be up to date on the laws in your state and country.  Every state is different and requires a different set of forms and permits to get your distillery up and running.  We in no way condone the illegal distillation of alcohol at home, but information is not illegal!  You may want to use your home distillery for fuel, essential oils or even water!

2. Be Safehome distilling or the at home distiller

Let’s assume you have checked out all of the laws, filled out all of the forms, and obtained all of the permits.  Now you need to be sure you are being safe.  Distilling can be dangerous if you aren’t smart about it. The first step you should take is to buy a high quality still for your home distillery.

  • Don’t distill in a closed room.
  • Don’t use a leaky still
  • Keep a tidy workspace
  • Always have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Don’t drink on the job – you can partake of your product other times, not while you’re distilling.
  • Don’t smoke around the still.  Seriously don’t. Just don’t.

 3. Have Fun!

Home distilling is really fun! It really isn’t as crazy or dangerous as it has been made out to be.  Many of the urban myths you hear are just that, myths brought about by the prohibition era bootleggers.  The whole idea that it will make you go blind is a myth from when bootleggers would cut their shine with methanol to save on the bottom line. So, don’t listen to those naysayers and have fun!

If you want to learn more about home distilling head over to stilltalk.com, our online forum for all  distilling enthusiasts!

The Process of Alcohol Distillation

The Process of Alcohol Distillation

Once your mash and fermentation processes are complete, there’s just one more process before your Fractional distillation is needed to separate the ethanol (alcohol) from the water in the fermented mash, and this is accomplished by using specific levels of heat. When done right, this process will create a spirit that’s high in alcohol content and has a pure, clean kick to it.
magnificent moonshine is ready to ingest.

This type of distillation has been used for hundreds of years to make moonshine, which in turn can be aged in different ways to make many hard liquors.

Fractional distillationThe Steps to Alcohol Distillation

Here’s how you go from having malt, sugar, and water to making moonshine right at home.

Step 1. Make your mash and ferment it.
We’ve covered this in a previous post, so let’s move on to the next step.

Step 2. Heat the wash in the pot.
The wash from the fermenter is pumped into the pot portion of the still so that the mixture can be heated. Steam is pumped into sleeve around the pot still to slowly heat the wash up to 173° F to separate the ethanol from the water.

Step 3. The ethanol vapor goes through the distillation column.
After being heated, the ethanol/water vapor moves up to a cool copper distillation column. As the vapor condenses, some of it will fall back in the pot while the vapor with the highest alcohol content will continue on all the way to the top of the column.

Step 4. The vapor turns to liquid in the condenser.
After passing through the lyne arm, the vapor enters the condenser. It’s a chamber that has a pipe that the vapor funnels into, which is surrounded by a pipe with cool water. This cools the vapor, which is condensed into liquid ethanol.

Step 5. Collect the moonshine mixture.
The liquid ethanol drips from the condenser into a collection vessel positioned to catch it. It’s important to note that what comes out of the condenser has some variation.

  • The first little bit, called the foreshots, contains a high level of harsh chemicals like acetone.
  • The ethanol liquid that comes next, the hearts, is the high-content alcohol that’s used to make the base of moonshine and hard liquor.
  • The last bit is a lower-content alcohol called the tails.

Step 6. Mix up the moonshine.
Many moonshiners will mix a very small amount of the foreshots with the hearts to make their white lightening. This will give it just the right amount of kick without being too abrasive.

Now it’s time for the best step of all – enjoying your moonshine! If you prefer a little something different, you can age the mixture in barrels to create whiskey or bourbon. You can also make gin by putting a botanical mixture in the pot and redistilling the moonshine.