How to Make Moonshine

By Philip Brewer on 25 September 2007 (Updated 8 June 2011) 911 comments

It has been legal to make wine at home since the end of prohibition, and legal to make beer since 1978, but it's still illegal to distill spirits for beverage purposes without going through so much fuss and bother that the government admits flat out that it's "impractical." That's too bad, because homemade moonshine is incredibly frugal. (See also: 21 Great Uses for Beer)

Making moonshine is easy. In one sense, making any alcoholic beverage is easy, because the yeast do all the work. But moonshine is especially easy because running it through a still makes all the delicate balancing of flavors that mark a great beer or wine irrelevant.

I learned most of what I know about moonshine from the classic book Possum living: How to live well without a job and with almost no money by Dolly Freed. (A great book and well worth reading.)

[Updated 2010-01-14 to add:; I've just learned that Tin House books has reissued Possum Living! It's wonderful to see this classic once again available a reasonable price.]

Alcoholic beverages all start with yeast and with sugar for the yeast to eat. The sugar for wine usually comes from grapes (although other fruits are used, especially for homemade wine). The sugar for beer usually comes from malted barley (although other grains are also used). The sugar for commercially produced spirits can come from almost anything — corn for bourbon, barley for scotch, rye for rye, sugar cane for rum, and so on. For moonshine, what you want is the cheapest sugar you can find. Dolly Freed found that the cheapest sugar she could find was white granulated sugar. Nowadays, corn syrup might be cheaper.

Let me take a moment here to praise yeast. I'm a huge fan of yeast. They work tirelessly to make our bread and our booze, then uncomplainingly give up their lives that we may eat and drink. If there were an American Yeast Council, I'd want to be their spokesman.

The main difference between brewer's yeast and baker's yeast is that brewer's yeast has been bred to survive a higher alcohol content. That lets wine makers work with natural fruit juices that have a high concentration of sugar and get a higher concentration of alcohol before the yeast die of alcohol poisoning. If you're going to make your own sugar solution to grow the yeast in, though, you can just make the sugar solution's strength match what the yeast can convert before they die. It all comes out even with no waste.

According to Dolly Freed, it is a happy coincidence that 5 pounds of sugar in 3 gallons of water works out just right for ordinary baker's yeast.

[Updated 2007-12-30 to add:

A lot of people have asked how much yeast to add. I answered that in comment #16 below, but that's an obscure place to look for the answer, so I'm copying what I said up here.

I'd add one packet.

Since the yeast reproduce, it almost doesn't matter how much you add — after 20 minutes you've got twice as much, so if you add half as much it changes your total fermentation time from 10 days to 10 days 20 minutes.

All you need to do is add enough that your yeast overwhelms any wild yeast that happen to get in. (There are wild yeast in the air everywhere, so you really can't avoid them.)]

There are lots of good books on making beer and making wine. Any of them will describe the fermentation process, but very briefly you just:

  1. add sugar to the water
  2. bring to a boil (to kill any wild yeast in it and make it easy to dissolve the sugar)
  3. wait until the temperature comes down to 110°F (so you don't kill your own yeast)
  4. add yeast
  5. wait

The fermenting liquid is called the "must." You want to leave it loosely covered to keep other things from getting into it (wild yeasts, mold spores, etc.), but the yeast produce carbon dioxide as well as alcohol and you want to make sure the carbon dioxide can easily escape. If you seal it up tightly, it could explode.

Give it 10 to 25 days (depending on various things, but mainly how warm it is). You'll know its done when it:

  • quits bubbling
  • begins to turn clear
  • no longer tastes sweet

Now, if you were making beer or wine you'd have several more steps: bottling, aging, etc. Making moonshine, though, all you need to do is distill the stuff. For that, you need a still.

moonshine still

You can buy a still, but you probably don't want to. (They cost money, and the federal government — which scarcely polices this activity at all — probably does keep tabs on people who buy stills from commercial outlets.)

A still, though, is just:

  • a pot with a lid with a hole in it
  • a tube, closely fit to that hole, running to a jar
  • something to cool that tube

You bring the pot to a boil, the alcohol evaporates, the vapor goes out the hole, into the tube, and the condenses back into liquid alcohol.

Conveniently, an old-fashioned pressure cooker is a pot with a hole in the lid. Modern pressure cookers won't work as well, because they have a fancy valve to release the pressure, but with an old-fashioned one you just remove the weight and then fit the tube to the valve.

If you've got some room, you can just make the tube long enough and you don't need to do anything extra to condense the alcohol. Using a tube that coils some can save space. Alternatively, you can run your tube through a sleeve and run cold tap water through the sleeve. (Dolly Freed has a diagram of just such a setup.)

The things to be sure of here are that your entire set-up needs to be of food-quality materials: copper, aluminum, stainless steel are all fine. Plastics are iffy as some may leach stuff into the alcohol. Lead is right out, as is putting the pieces together with solder that includes lead.

Make sure the hole can't get plugged up, which could lead to your still exploding.

Set up your still and bring it to a light boil. Pretty soon you'll have almost pure alcohol dripping into your jar. The water content of the distillate will gradually increase. At some point a sample taken from the tube will no longer taste of alcohol, and you're done.

As I said, it's too bad it's illegal. Otherwise you could make some pretty good booze (well, let's say barely drinkable booze) for the price of a few pounds of sugar.

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Guest's picture
BT

I make a lot of wine from kits etc. Instead of bottling the wine can it be run through a still to make moonshine?

Philip Brewer's picture

You can distill wine (or beer), but that kind of misses the point.  You go to a lot of effort (and some expense) to get just the right balance of flavors in wine or beer, so that it tastes good.

If you're planning on making moonshine, you can skip all that.  Just ferment sugar water and then distill it.  Minimal expense, minimal effort.  After distilling, it's pretty much just going to taste like alcohol.

I suppose if you have a batch of beer or wine that comes out undrinkable, distilling it might save the day (depending on what was wrong with it).

Guest's picture
Corey

Hey I have just made the mash and am anticipating fermentation but how long will it take for the yeast to start making alcohol?

Guest's picture
Guest

It usually takes two or three passes through the still to remove all the impurities from the alcohol. One pass may not be enough to create a safe batch.? is this true?

Philip Brewer's picture

What the still is going to do is concentrate the alcohol.  That will remove some impurities, but it could also concentrate others.  If you think there's anything dangerous in your fermentation, don't drink it.  If you make it with sugar and water, though, and if you only use food-grade equipment for the fermentation and distilation, there shouldn't be anything that need removing.

Guest's picture
Guest

hi phillip,just a quick question,as you have mentioned many many times on here how to make moonshine and mentioned what ingrediants to use,you say you only need to use 1 packet of yeast...my question is how big a packet?? in grams would be really helpful m8,thanks for all the cool info on other stuff tho
lee uk

Philip Brewer's picture

It almost doesn't matter how much or how little yeast you use--because the yeast is going to grow.  When it's at its peak, it'll be doubling every 20 minutes or so, so using half as much yeast is only going to increase your total fermentation time by 20 minutes.

All you really need is enough yeast to overwhelm an wild yeasts (or bacteria) that might get in the wort.  Any size package of yeast will be plenty.  If there's more than one size, use the smallest.  If you can only buy yeast in bulk, use a teaspoon (5 ml) or thereabouts.

Guest's picture
zorcy

There are caustic gases from high temps and aluminum. It will also start to pit the pot, guess where it goes?? Aluminum will cause you to sweat stains on your clothes and has been linked to cancer. It really isn't worth it. This is a great 'hobby' and should be taken with an artisan approach. You can make some special drinks, with better ingredients than you can afford to buy.

Use only what you are 100% sure of. Stainless, can not go wrong. Sugar and yeast, good stuff. Brown sugar is rum. Use a thumper or doubler with fruit in it to give you flavours. (you can get that by collecting distilled steam in a glass jar, bubble the steam below liquid and fruit. the steam raises the temp, use some mash here. the heat takes the oils from the fruit with alcohol and carries it to the coils. juniper berries and some rinds and you get gin) shave white oak, toast it in the over to almost burned toast colour, add to jar, sit for 2 months, shake once in a while, nice colour, vanilla scent, smooth flavour.

Try to keep the hobby alive, share the knowledge. Don’t try to sell or profit from it. It’s a sharing experience with friends (you trust)

Guest's picture
william

How do i start at home on makin it what is the easyiest way to make it and what do i start with.

Guest's picture
zorcy

ok, buy sugar bread yeast and get some 5 gallon buckets for free at the bakery or deli at the store. sterilize and clean buckets well,,, those pickle ones carry an odors. boil water and cool, when it hits 100 deg F, add sugar, keep a tablespoon and add to bowl of water, pitch the yeast by adding to water, sit for 20 minutes, it grows and smells great (home brewers love it) while its sitting, stir the sugar well, this also aerates the water, you don’t want to add extra oxygen after you add yeast.

add yeast, still lightly, add top, top off with airlock (balloon will work with pin hole)

give it a while, weeks, keep it in a closet with a plastic bag under it, drop a drier cling if you want, no real need.

i like to pull off the wash in another bucket to get it away from the old sediment, for flavour issues

let it sit another week.

buy the largest, cheapest lobster pot you can, i got 5 gallon stainless at old time pottery for about $9. some copper tube, a brass fitting at 90 deg that will hold tube. cut hole in lid, put in fitting, seal with black or red silicone, they are chemical and temp resistant. the fitting should stay on its own though. you can use dough to seal it each time if you want. when the lid is on, the copper comes off at 90 deg, lays flat on lid for support. comes down to counter into lid of mason jar, tip is submerged in wash, about 1 inch, another hole the rest of the tube comes out where it can collect steam only. the coil comes off and coils down off the counter to a jar on the floor. make sure you don’t create an air lock, the coil needs to drain down without it elevating.

when you take the final wash, pour it off so you won’t take sediment, taste bad in the pot. pot on stove, make a paste of wet bread or flour and water, seal the lid, and mason jar holes, anything else that leaks, i use large metal paper clips to hold the lid, they have handles and are black, get them at Wal-Mart.

flame on high till the pot hits about 160, then watch it till it starts to steam, it will steam into the thumper till the wash in there gets hot, then that will steam and you get vodka. \

once you collect it, use an old Britta water filter, i collect them just for this,, after 3 passes, you get grey goose. if you want to still again,, add distilled water, 50/50 and put in a clean pot and do again, if you want flavour, add lemon or orange peels to thumper.
take it apart when you are done, rinse well, no evidence

Guest's picture
research guy

great idea on the Brita filters!!!

Guest's picture
zorcy

there are solar stills out there, use wood and grass for sugars, but you can NOT drink it, its poison. lots of methonal i think, what ever it is, its not ethonal. as far as plastics and the plastic amazing still? its low temp, long time. its easy to build from scratch and it works, same as a solar still actually, heat source is low, tank heater or sun, and it collects slowly

Guest's picture
ironkicker

HAVE BEEN MAKING WINE FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS - WOULD LIKE TO WORK DOWN SOME OLD WINE - I BOUGHT A VERY NICE OLD STILL W/ CONDENSER AT A ANTIQUE STORE IN AMISH COUNTRY ( LOOKS OLD TIME & PRO BUILT ) MY QUESTION IS WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THIS WAS BUILD W/ LEAD AND CAN YOU TELL. WOULD YOU USE IT ? THANKS IN ADVANCE.

P.S. - HAVE BEEN GATHERING INFO FOR ABOUT A YEAR - THIS IS THE BEST SITE I HAVE FOUND - THANKS MUCH

Guest's picture
Guest

All old copper stills used lead soder, but then again, so do all old pipes. The lead leaches into the water or steam. I would not use it often, and certainly not with wine. You can make a modern one with a glass gallon jug, lol. It's just not worth the health issues. However, anyone over 30 has likely been over exposed to lead in their youth already. Remember leaded gas (aka regular)? Ever clean a part with leaded gas...lol.

Philip Brewer's picture

I'm afraid I can't even guess.  As your question indicates, the copper itself is probably fine, the question is whether it was assembled with lead solder--and as to that, as far as I know, there's just no way to find out.

Sorry.  Maybe somebody else knows.

Guest's picture
Larry

I tried making a small batch using brown sugar I put the mix in a Carboy with a fermentaion lock and it bubble like crazy for 6 days, on the 7th day it stopped but the solution was still cloudy and smells like a bad beer with lots of carbonation bubbles. I was told that when the fermentation process was close to finishing the solution would become clear and the bubbling would stop. Did I do something wrong?

Guest's picture
zorcy

they have small strips you can test for lead in paint, get them everywhere, maybe even walmart. if there is lead, you can take it out and put in silver solder pretty easy,

Guest's picture
zorcy

here is more info then you can wrap your brain around, http://homedistiller.org/ they tell how, why and what with

Guest's picture
Guest

I have problems keeping the temp down around 173. My still wants to burn around 190-110 for vaporization. Is there a problem of getting the mash too hot, just not over the 112 for the water to vaporize? What are temps for dangerous mixes?

Guest's picture
zorcy

It should come up to the evaporation point of alcohol and hold there until it is gone, then climb up to the boiling point of water around 210. Your goal is never to boil, just get close to it. Turn the heat down, if you are using wood, knock it down away from the kettle. If you are using electric elements, turn one off, if you are using 1 large one and no controls, then you are just way too big and need to build a column that can handle the water vapors and send them back down. If you don’t know what a still column is, Google it and select just the pictures to start with, the link I gave earlier has directions to build one. The most creative I’ve seen, was a column that came apart and fit in a Makita drill case for storage and hiding. Nice, very nice.

Guest's picture
Guest

How fast should the mash come up to temp? Is it ok to heat it slowly to the 173, or does it have to come up fast due to the chance for methanol? Thanks for all the response.

Guest's picture
zorcy

Alcohol is flammable. Alcohol vapors are even more so. The vapors will get you drunk, I have even heard that pure enough alcohol will absorb thru the skin. If you boil you mash, you risk a lot of extra vapor that could get you drunk and cause you to make bad decisions. Be careful.

Guest's picture
zorcy

Slower is better. If there is any methanol, you want it completely gone before you start to collect. If you try to force a higher temp or boil while it is still in there, it will release ethanol at the same time and you loose some. Not to mention, it is a lot easier to stop collecting heads and tails if you are monitoring the temps closely. I keep a small hole in the top, with a digital thermometer; it will sit at one temp for a long time, and then quickly climb up. Isn’t science just grand :)

Guest's picture
Guest

So I tried makin my own, it seemed to have the kind of wine aftertaste, almost like saki. It also seemed to not really produce anything til around 200 Deg. Should it taste like everclear or vodka? Cause mine taste like neither. It taste like it smelled before I boiled, cant help but think I should have left it sit another few days.

Guest's picture
zorcy

sounds like it did not ferment and all you did was boil water,,,, sweet water. you can taste it first, it should we like a flavourless wine. did the air trap bubble for days first? did it foam up? you can drink a cup or 2 and get a little buzz. what type of yeast did you use? did you boil the water first? it removes chlorine that way that would kill yeast.

Guest's picture
clarance white

Do you have to sprout whole corn to make shine or can you just use crack corn in the mash.

Guest's picture
geniusiknowit

It's safe to use aluminum, but it may cause reactions with the mash/wort that negatively affect flavor. But it is not dangerous.

When distilling from refined sugars, essentially no methanol is produced. When distilling from grains/fruits containing pectin, a very tiny amount of methanol might be produced. However, this is amount produced is negligible. Throwing away the "heads" will eliminate almost all methanol produced, but the main reason to discard the "heads and tails" is to get rid of cogeners and fusel oils and other such things that can ruin the flavor.

The horror stories of people going blind or dying are from unscrupulous jerks trying to make a buck adulterating their moonshine with alcohol that was intentionally denatured for industrial uses only. And basically, the only reason alcohol is even denatured is to avoid having to pay liquor taxes on it.

Consuming trace amounts of methanol at the same time you consume ethanol generally results in the methanol passing through your body unchanged, as ethanol gets processed preferentially by the body, and the booze has way more ethanol waiting to get processed than it would any methanol.

Guest's picture
IRONKICKER

I FEEL MY FIRST BATCHES CAME OUT FINE ( MADE FROM BAD WINE )
I HAVE ABOUT 5-6 GALLON OF FINISHED PRODUCT- THE QUESTION IS WOULD YOU STORE THIS? IN A NEW 10 GAL. CHARCOAL OAK BARREL ( THAT I HAVE ) OR IS THE AIR SPACE A PROBLEM AS IN WINE.
A GAL.WILL BE KEPT FOR INSTANT TESTING - 1/2 GONE NOW!
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

Guest's picture
zorcy

from what i have read, aluminum and alcohal react, even faster at high temps and high concentration. any reaction would put off other chemicals. even if it only leachs into the drink, its got to be bad. someone with chemical background could give actual details, but i would avoid it.

air in the keg, not an issue. aging the shine on oak, will make whiskey. but since you are making it from wine, you get brandy. dont stip it down to much, you want some flavour to go thru. you can even leave a little wine in the keg as it ages, nice touch

Guest's picture

My tap water contains Chlorine. Will that interfere with the yeast? Should I use only filtered water?

And THANKS for a most informative blog on the basics!

Guest's picture
zorcy

yes, it will kill the yeast. you should always boil water first to kill anything that will compete with yeast growth. if you get a bacteria growing that is faster, guess who eats the sugar? not only does it lower the alco level, but can leave bad taste or even unwanted chemicals. boil the water, the chlorine will evaporate and all germs will be killed, let it cool down below 110 F so it wont kill the yeast though.

Guest's picture
Guest

My Tap Water has clorine and it DOES NOT AFFECT YEAST!!!

Guest's picture
T Hendrix

From what I understand, the stories of people going blind from drinking shine was due to the way the still was created. Back in the day the distilling coil on an outdoor still was made of copper which was very expensive and hard to come by. Then someone figured out that automobile radiators could be used for this purpose. The only problem was many times they were not thoroughly drained and cleaned which resulted in people getting antifreeze in their shine. It was the antifreeze that caused them to go blind, not methanol.

Read more: "Preview comment | Wise Bread" - http://www.wisebread.com/comment/reply/1212#ixzz09kMsMuS2

Guest's picture
BRICK

alright. i am going to make my mash tommorrow and am considering adding some canned peaches. anything wrong with using fruits from cans? i hate liquer taxes and have decided to not use the ABC store anymore. make my own is the ony option.

Guest's picture
zorcy

There will be preservatives in the peaches, which can cause issues. If you are doing it for flavour, wait till you distil once, then drain and lightly rinse the peaches, slightly mash then and put them in the shine/vodka. Let them steep for a few weeks to exchange the flavours. Strain them out and eat the peaches,,,that does sound good. Then you can use the vodka and add distilled water to it and distill again. Use some of the peach flavoured juice in the thumper for flavour as well. There is nothing like fresh peaches, but this is still ok.

Guest's picture

I think I can conveniently obtain a pressure cooker from the local Methodist resale shop (IF I don't tell them what it is for!) but I am not sure if I should run it in the "sealed" position or not. You said that all you need is a pot with a hole in the lid... but does the lid need to lock? That adds a risk of explosion... Can I leave the lid ajar?

Thanks!

Philip Brewer's picture

The point is that the (mostly alcohol) steam comes out through the hole.  As long as that happens, you shouldn't have pressure building up inside.  (If the hole gets blocked you would have pressure building up and that would be bad.  Make sure that doesn't happen.)

If you leave the lid ajar, though, you'll lose a large fraction of your alcohol, which will just escape into the room around the edges of the lid.

Guest's picture
Guest

Great site & great comments! I have made some ok meads, but now I have everything to make a "Crockpot Still". I heard good things about this still. Can anyone comment on this or give me some pointers (ex. How deep does the copper tubing go into the top of the crockpot, etc.. Thanks!

Guest's picture
Cire 99

I have a 5 gallon SS pot with a cooper tube and lines that I jsut finished building. I am using a 3/8" cooper coil into a PVC water jacket. I have heard that I need to leave room for expansion?? in my wash / pot. If my pot holds 5 gallons, should I only fill it with 3.5 or 4 gallons?

BTW -- Great sight.

Guest's picture
Cire 99

I have a 5gallon plastic carbouy...any ploblem in using it to ferment?

If I use the plastic carbouy can I use a balloon as my vapor lock?

Guest's picture
zorcy

pressure cooker still, be cafeful. there are 2 holes in the lid, one that has air coming out for the counter weight to adjust pressure, a good spot to tap the copper line. the other is sealed as a safety blow out. it blows out at HIGH pressure. they are usually aluminum, which above was discussed. so if its stainless, i would drill the blow hole and leave it empty, tap teh counter wieght hole and put copper on it. when you use it, put the lid on tight and plug the hole with dough made from bread and water. it will blow out with low pressure and is cheap to replace. the taste wont effect anything.

5 gallon pot. you need some space for the air to go at the top of the pot, if you have 2 inches, thats fine. if you boil the wort at all, you are going to have troubles thou. anything that pops and gets to the hole in the lid will pass thru to your condensor and you will get taste and contaminations. yuk. i like to go by thirds. 2/3 wort, 1/3 air. steam collects and can build up before the strongest % will go up the tube.

plastic carbouy. plast carbouys, never heard of one, but could be a first. it could be a plastic 5 gallon water bottle. they are kinda blue. its ok for storing liquids in, but it has 2 issues. the material is not chemical resistant, like to alcohal, and can leach out chemicals. not good. dont know how that will effect the mash, but it would not be worth it. 2nd, the plastic, at a molecule level, is spaced out, there is room for air to pass and breath, this will allow oxygen in as it 'ages' for days. oxygen will effect the mash, negatively. i am not saying this will not work, just that if you had a choice, use something made for chemicals.

Guest's picture
zorcy

Go to the deli or bakery, they have 3, 4 and 5 gallon buckets that hold food. They are food grade, nice rubber seals, mostly chemical resistant to alcohol.
A 5 gallon pickle bucket needs cleaned really well, and aired out. The vinegar is corrupted alcohol to start with. Frosting has vanilla in it, which is alcohol base,,,, you get the point.

Drill a hole, stick a hose it in and seal it. Black or blue silicone is chemical and some heat resistant. The end of the hose goes in a container of water with a shot of liquor in it to kill all germs. This is the air trap.

Ferment in that, distill in a cheap still.

Take the largest pot you have with a dome shaped lid, put your wart in, and float a glass bowl in it to collect alcohol. Make sure the bowl does not touch the bottom, and that it always has part in the centre of the pot. Invert the lid and start putting in cold stuff (frozen water bottles ) and rotate out as you need more cold. DO NOT BOIL, 185 is the TOP of you temp you want in the wart. The steam/fog will condense on the inverted cold lid and drip to the handle and fall in the bowl. Some of the dripping will evaporate and condense again, that’s ok.

a friend, got a cheap 3 gallon lobster pot for $5, attached the lid with clothes pins, sealed the lid with wet bread dough, drilled the lid, tapped it with brass fitting, compression fitting copper on it, ran it to a mason jar, bubbles thru some wart, the steam comes off and out the lid to a coil, keep a fan on the coil, and drips to an old Britta filter set up and comes out vodka. This was a simple, cheap test of concept that worked fine. You can use parts for later on when you build a better column. Try this first, spend as little as you can for as long as you can. This is too small to make any to sell, which is how it should be. But you can work on flavours with this set up.

Guest's picture
zorcy

I must have missed a post, as to where that came from. I have re-read what I wrote to be sure it was not directed to me. It does not help the post, but everyone has a say, I guess.

Philip Brewer's picture

Yeah, I'm not sure who that was aimed at either, but generally let people have their say.

On another topic:  Zorcy, I don't know who you are, but I want to say thanks for your contributions on this thread.  This page is a lot more useful than it would have been without your comments along the way.  Thank you!

Guest's picture
zorcy

NP Philip, just glad you started it. I am always finding a way to do it myself. I make beer, wine, rum and soap from scratch. I have always made my own candy, bread and cakes from scratch too. It is really amazing what you can learn on the net with just a few days of free time and a twisted sense of fun. My next BIG project, build the still boiler out of copper sheeting from a roll of copper that is used for rain gutters. I have been practicing my silver solder welding with pipes. I need some rivit work and some form of support for the walls, and I will be set!

Guest's picture
zorcy

One plan I have to make the boiler from scratch, it’s just small.

Using a roll of copper, lay out sheets to overlap, on the edges, fold and crease it to loop and hook. Tap down the seam and silver solder it. Once the height is what I want, I would seal the side the same way. Fold the bottom out to flange at a 90 deg. make a bottom piece the same way as the sides, cut a circle just larger then the walls. Roll it over the 90 deg flange, tap it down and silver solder it as well. Roll a cone and connect it similar to the bottom technique. At the top of the funnel, silver solder the fitting for the column. For strength, I have noticed a lot of the old stills were placed over a fire pit and covered in bricks or rocks. That should double as insulation and support for the weight on the walls of the boiler. Since mine will need to be portable, I am looking at wrapping it in copper wire and silver solder that to the walls. Bands of flattened, hard copper, pipes wrapped around and riveted on the ends, should work fine, too. With this classic look, I would not want to put a high efficiency column on it, but an old style. You would put an elbow on the top, made from sheets. From there, a long funnel leading to the coils would dictate the style of drink you make. If you want more pure and less flavour, then angle the last funnel up 20-30 deg. part of the steam will collect and fall back down. This is a mild form of reflux. If you want a real flavourful drink, something to age in oak, then angle down about the same 20-30 deg. if you are not sure, do a 90 deg. with the slight incline that the funnel creates, you can adjust the temps to form a slight reflux or heat it up some and get more flavour.

Guest's picture
Guest

so if i use just the ordinary homemade still with the old pot with a hole in it with some piping going from the fermenting yeast to the pot thats holding the lightning is there anything i need to worry about? and i read above about removing the heads and tails?? does anybody know what this is about? please! im going to try and make some lighting soon so please help!!

Guest's picture
zorcy

The run on confused me. Don't think of this as one process, but several jobs done on different days. The wash is made in one bucket, and then moved to the still (pot) later. Looks like you tried to do it in the same pot. This is essentially beer. Once in the pot (still) you steam off, don’t boil. Collect what is steamed off. The first bit is heads. Because there are multiple compounds in the wash, the lower temp in the beginning steams off methane and some oils, this is heads. Taste bad. Too much at this concentration can poison you too. You can tell from the smell, taste and temps of the wash as to when you are done with this part. Now what comes out is liquor. Lightning is specific to corn wash. All corn gives you more flavour. You get more yields from adding sugar. When the temp starts to go up, you are running tails. Same as before, extra stuff you don’t want. You can tell the same way, taste, smell and temp. If you can get these out, you can keep hangovers almost completely away. Running thru a filter, read way above, helps that and smoothes it out.

Guest's picture
Jessy

Will it matter that my 55 gallon drum held olive oil? I havn't made a distillery yet but I am buying my parts to make my first distillery. I don't know anything about it as of now but I'm gonna soon. I want to know what kind of yeast and sugar should I use for the puriest moonshine. I am looking to start my first batch this summer and next year do a couple during the summer. I want a good cougher batch. I know 2 things so far. That I'll have a 55 gallon drum and a 5 gallons glass catcher. Does anyone know how much this will make? I do a lot of camping and would enjoy it while I'm hunting and fishing. I kind of need a lot of help. This is my email and my name Jessy. If your able to walk me through the process, I will give some of the spoils by mail in some mason jars. Thanks

Guest's picture
Guest

Oil kills yeast. Keeps it from getting air I think. You'd have to really-really-really clean this well, or your fermentations would get snuffed out early.

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zorcy

Most olive oil barrels are plastic that I have seen. That part is not an issue. Molecular structure of oil and plastic is VERY close. The plastic will absorb the oil some. If you can clean it so you can not smell the oil, you have a good chance of it being ok.

If this is a metal barrel, just clean it real well. They make a distillers yeast, but turbo yeast has some high % and is really fast. The highest you will get is with that. You should find it most brew sites or suppliers.

For the purest spirits, use pure white sugar, yeast and water.

Let’s start with the wash; you want to leave some space at the top, so we will use only 50 gallons of it. So, 42 gallons of water, couple yeast packs (I’ll explain in a bit) and sugar. now if you find yeast that will reach 16%, use 120 lbs of sugar, if you can get to 18% use 130 lbs. if you can only get a 14% yeast, use 100 lbs. I read that turbo yeast can hit 20% so add 140 lbs.

No matter how well you clean the barrel, expect some oils left behind. When you steam it off, watch your heads and tails. I would pull off about a pint and waste it. There will be no way to recycle it while you’re camping, except to make an alcohol stove out of aluminum can. Lol. Another story...

Bring a Britta filter; you will need it if you are drinking right away.

Now, if you are talking about just taking a small still out for a camping with friends, then don’t bring the 55 gallon barrel. Go to your local bakery or deli. Get about 1 5 gallon bucket per person. If you have lots of ppl, grab an extra or 2. Make the wash about 3 days ahead of time. Let’s make this as cheap as we can. Get some clear plastic hose. A little bigger then fish tank air line. Some blue or black silicone sealant and a mason jar. Tap the lids, insert some hose (long enough to run down the side and into a jar) seal with silicone. Let it cure for at least 24 hours. Start water boiling, you have to kill the germs. While the water heats up, pitch the yeast. Take about a cup of water about 100-110 deg F, tablespoon of sugar and the yeast, mix and place to the side, it will foam. Yeast double every 20 minutes, if you need a lot, just pitch it and wait.

say you start with 1/4 oz, mix with sugar and water, in 20 minutes it 1/2 oz, 20 more its 1 oz, 20 more 2, 4, a cup, a pint a quart, half a gallon, all in 2 hours 20 minutes. So don’t go buying a lot for this.

When the water boils for a few minutes, turn off and add sugar. Mix well, whip some air in, the yeast likes it and you can not do it once the yeast is added. Let the temp come down to 100-110 deg F, then pour in the yeast. If you have 5 buckets, you can pitch the yeast to grow in a quart of water and 1/2 cup sugar then split it in the buckets. Put the lids on tight. Place the buckets in a circle. put the mason jar in the middle, run the hoses to it, fill cup half full of water and a shot of liquor(keeps germs out) this will be done in a couple days.

If you use the 55 gallon to steam this off, make sure you don’t pour the bottom of each bucket in there. The yeast sludge does not enhance the flavour!!!.

Hope this helps. If you need more, just ask. Zorcy is an easy find on Google. You could say it’s hot ;)

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zorcy

Ok, say you are camping in the summer. You are willing to carry in 5 gallons of wash. It's hot; you don’t want to carry more. Let’s resort to survival skills. You can get fresh water from most any saltwater or swamp water. In a closed container, remove the lid, float a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, seal with rope or rubber band, and place a weight in the centre. Place in the sun. The heat will cause evaporation. It will condense on the plastic and drip at the lowest point. Fall to the bowl and collect. This is not fast. This will carry over a LOT of the flavour from your wash. If it’s from fruit, you are going to taste it. Likewise, if you are making a traditional moonshine, you will taste the native yeast and corn in your results.

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zorcy

Ok, let’s say you are not in the northern hemisphere, and its winter. Your camping still is a little more cumbersome. A large pot, you can carry your wash in it once it’s done. You will need a large concave cover, a little larger then the pot or an easy to use handle on it. You will need to prop the pot up and place coals under it, don’t get flames all over, and this is flammable stuff. Float a bowl and put the lid upside down on the pot. Put snow or ice in the lid and drain it off with a ladle or siphon it. It will steam up, condense on the lid and drip down to the bowl. This is faster, but requires a supply to keep the lid cold.

Guest's picture
Guest

Umn... what you are teaching in this column is how to make prohibition era hooch! This is not moonshine! Real moonshine is made with corn and is a craft that has been handed down one genration to the next in the States since before the USA was the USA!

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zorcy

You are correct. This is not the tell all of moonshine. Reading back, these are some alternatives to traditional moonshine. Something that you can do without a mentor. As with any art, you are trained and have some form of talent. This is the best most of us can do with what we have. I have tried several bootleggers shine, and I can tell you, many are making stuff that needs no skill or artistry. With what we share here, we hope that they will carry on, mature their skills and taste. Build better, learn more and ultimately, make some quality drinks. Some may make run, vodka, gin, whisky and yes, moonshine. Even an untrained, talented artist can produce a work of art. If you have some information, maybe you could share. One goal here is to keep the skill alive. So, grab a constructive, instructive pen, and share some knowledge.

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Guest

I am not sure if i have the ratio correct in the mash i made. i used about 2.5 gallons of water, and about 1 pound of sugar. Does it matter how much yeast i put in? what if i put too much in?

Guest's picture
zorcy

The yeast will grow, so if you put in too little, it will fill in. if you put in too much, you are ahead of the curve and it’s already there instead of growing to meet your needs. If you are using a strange source of sugar, say frozen lemonade concentrate, you would want the yeast to grow to your needs. It is harder for it to ferment the high acidity levels. If a single yeast survives, it will tolerate the acid and reproduce, causing stronger yeast for what you are using it.

Bottom line, the yeast will be fine. Use an alcohol calculator given at the addresses earlier to check the level you want and water used. A hydrometer is a really easy and great tool.

Guest's picture
Guest

Can i just make a still and put it out in the woods. Its like 90-100 degrees which yeast shud still be able to reproduce in rite?

Guest's picture
zorcy

I would not suggest building and placing an illegal production still in the woods. These ideas are all just theory. Making anything large would draw attention and take away from the art some of us are hoping for. Enough said...

A still requires supplies and constant attention. Even though you 'could' do that, you may not want to. As far as the mash, the temp is great. It should kick of pretty fast, as long as the water was not too cold. If you are thinking of making a large still for the woods, experiment first. Make some small stills and test them. For moonshine, it traditionally has a lot of carry over from the still. It's not stripped down to pure alcohol. A column may not be best for that, but the speed it works will help you work and get out of there pretty fast. When talking about a still and the yeast, remember, they are not done in the same container. The yeast that falls out would taste funny if it was heated in the still. You could take a 55 gallon plastic barrel, like they use for pickles or olives, and place in the woods to ferment. You could bring a small still out to the site the day you want to use it. If anyone saw the barrel in the woods, you can bet some feds will be watching it for you to show up. Just thinking out loud.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hello, I just found this site and it sounds great. Where can i turn to next for reciepts and step by step directions on making some shine? I have an old preasure cooker that I can convert. It does have a rubber seal though. Dont know if that will cause a problem.
I did try a wine that was made in a sparklets bottle with a bubbler on top. When it stopped bubbling it was done. Boy that was strong, made with mashed up grapes.
Any Civil War reciepts?? I'm a reenactor.

Guest's picture
Chris

As stated in message #39, they added apples to there mix of sugar and yeast and ferminted for several days. My question is, Do you pour all the apples and the fixings in the still and simmer off the alcohol and capture in a jar?? I am new and want to know as much as possible before I convert my pressure cooker to a still.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

If you ferment apples, that will make cider. If you distill it, that is hard cider. I don’t think the taste of shine with apples sounds as good. If you work it right, you could distill vodka and make apple schnapps.

Is the pressure cooker aluminum or stainless? You don’t want to use aluminum. When you convert it over, make it so you can turn it back. A coil of copper in the kitchen or out in a field does not look as suspicious as a mock up of a still. It’s just copper and a pressure cooker sitting around.

Guest's picture
Chris

The type of pressure cooker is a Maitre's made isn Brazil.. I will have to check if a magnet will stick to it to see if it is stainless steel or aluminum. I do have some tall cooking pots with a copper bottom I could use for now like mentioned in previous scripts.
Also, how long does it take to steem off the alcohol of a 3gal. batch using a pot and a floating bowl??
After heating the water and adding sugar and white cornmeal and then the yeast after it cools.(#94) can I transfer it to another food grade pail or a plastic sparklets bottle???
Where can I find recipes for more versions of shine..???
Thanks for all you do..

Guest's picture
Zorcy

I think they bought it since a still was hard to carry. But they probably fermented anything with sugar in it. A favorite all the way back to the first European Americans:
APPLEJACK (an Unofficial Recipe)

Hard (fermented) apple cider

Take a quantity of hard cider, preferably several gallons at least, and put it in a cold place. Traditionally this is done in a barrel outdoors in wintertime, but improvise as your circumstances require. After it has chilled for several hours (traditionally this is overnight) inspect the barrel and see if a layer of ice has formed on top of the liquid. Remove this ice, as completely as possible, and discard. Repeat process until cider has achieved the desired degree of intoxicating qualities.

The rationale for this process is as follows: Cider, or any other wine, ferments naturally only to a certain point of alcohol content, after which it either turns to vinegar or simply goes bad. In circumstances where mechanical distillation was either impractical, illegal, heavily taxed, or unknown, the procedure above was the only means available to raise the alcohol content of the beverage any further. The results were not elegant brandy such as distillation would have produced, but achieved the desired result of the biggest drunk for the buck.
A recipe for this product has not been found in the Cookbook Editor's collection of material from 1865 or earlier, but we had a reader request for this item and decided to pass along what we know about the matter.
from this site
http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/CookbookBuzz1.htm

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Shine is shine, the recipe is the same. You can change it by the nature yeast in your area compared to another area of the world. That changes flavours. The type of corn you use, whole, cracked ground. whether its toasted first, boiled with water before adding sugar, what you ferment in, the temps and fluctuation, the type of water (hard or soft, minerals), type of sugars used (dextrose, lactose, so on). Some people add items to add different flavours, but I don’t think that is shine any longer.

The pressure cooker will not stick to a magnet if it is stainless or aluminum. You will need to take a dull metal, like a fork tine, and try to gouge the side. Stainless will barely scratch, but aluminum can leave a deep mark. I would use the pot for now. It takes longer to do the floating boil, because you can NOT let it boil. It tips the bowl, causes too much water to evaporate and land in the bowl. I would think about 3 hours or so. If you go too fast, and get too much water in the bowl, you get a larger volume. Take it out, add distilled water and do it again with lower heat. The taste will come out cleaner, like vodka.

Guest's picture
Chris

Yeap. Its made from aluminum. I looked it up online and they are made from aluminum. I will have to look for something else. But, for now I will try the pot and bowl meathed.
Thanks

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Try the lobster pot. 5 gallon, about $5 at old tyme pottery last time I looked. you can cut it up as you need. seal the lid down with wet bread. see above, don't know where.

Guest's picture
Chris

Can you use a plastic sparklets bottle to fermit the mix in until its done????

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Yes. Not sure what a sparklets is. But plastic is fine. Keep in mind, there are different plastics. The 5 gallon water bottles are thin and porous. They will let air in. oxygen is fine when you start the fermentation, but not so good after it gets going. It changes the flavours. Since you will distill, it won’t mater as much. The plastic I like best is the heavy food grade plastic used in bakeries and delis. They come with nice rubber seals. The pickle buckets need to be really cleaned well, but they are chemical resistant, vinegar is an acid.

Guest's picture
Chris

As stated in 213, how much distilled water do I add before doing it again. The amount that I get in the bowl or what???
I will try to get a bucket from our local donut shop for ferminting.
As i saw in the tv show MASH, adding raisins to the mix would make what ?? Gin??
Do you have a recipe with potatoes??

Guest's picture
Zorcy

The amount is not important. You use it to keep the whole thing from blowing up. A gallon or two mixed with what ever you got from your first run should be fine. If you started with about 5 gallons of mash at around 15-20%, then you will get a weak gallon. When you add 2 gallons, and steam that off, you will end up with about 1.5 quarts of drinkable product. The water left over from the first run, can be used for the next batch. There is some alcohol in it and should never be wasted. This second run is no good for fermentation. There are no minerals and nutrients the yeast need. You could save it for the next batch if you have to steam it again.

They are adding raisins for yeast. The white stuff in the crevices carries yeast. They actually made vodka, sugar base with yeast (the raisins you saw). Potatoes are a cheap substitute for sugar. They are high in starch that turns to sugar easily. That was a traditional vodka recipe. It first turns from starch to sugar then ferments to alcohol. It’s a longer step, but gets you to the same product. Gin is made with juniper berries and other herbs.

I would crush a few Bean-o tabs in there. They are enzymes that help convert different sugars to an easier one to ferment. The only reasons to use them, is to try an authentic recipe or because you have a large garden and lots of potatoes you could never eat all of them.

Guest's picture
Chris

Let me see if I got this right. I will add the two gallons of distilled water to the weak one gallon and steam that off. Right. Getting 1.5 quarts of good stuff.
Saving the first leftovers for the next batch of fermintation batch and adding the new water,sugar and yeast mix to this?? Or add it to the next fresh batch to steam??
I need to get this right before I do this.
Thanks for all the help.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Ok, when you steam off your first run from the mash, you get about a gallon if you go to fast. Save the left over to ferment again with more tap water, yeast and sugar. The product you steamed off gets 2 gallons of distilled water added and steam it off again, you can not rush this one as fast. Do not let the pot bubble!! This bowl is your bottle spirits. The left over here can be used for the second run of steaming when the next batch is ready.

I hope I said that ok. Let me know.

Guest's picture
Chris

Thanks I got it this time. I will get my first batch ferminting this week end. When it stops bubbling I will start steaming with my pot and coils that are in the making.
Thanks

Guest's picture
Chris

If you use corn meal in your mix will it settle to the bottom of your mix?? Do you stir the mix at times during fermintation?? Do you add the sediments to your batch that goes in for steaming too???
Thanks Chris

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Guest

I didn't take time to read all the comments, so I might be repeating info already given. Everyone keeps asking about what kind of still they can make. The easiest, and cheapest is an old crock pot with the knob removed from the lid, and fitted with a coil to catch the evaporated spirits. If you're running off more than the pot will hold, just make more runs till you're done. A paste of flour and water will seal the lid to the crock pot, and it's easy to take off when you're done, and ready to load the next batch.

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Guest

I am writing a research paper for college and this article has been very useful with my topic. Thanks for the info.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Doing a research paper for college, ;) right, got it. Every student should know this kind of stuff. Do some "research" on recipes for ginger beer and hard lemonade.

Corn meal:
If you use corn meal, it will let you know when it is done fermenting. It will start heavy at the bottom, get light with CO2 and float. When it is done, the CO2 will come out and then sink again. You can taste the mash and the "sweetness" the corn makes will be gone. This is not like sugar sweet, but sweet all the same. If you are making a fine delicate mash, stirring is bad. It changes the taste by adding oxygen. It also mixes up the sediment. You do not want sediment in your pot; it will give a scorched taste to it along with a yeasty taste. Wait till the mash is clear. Everything will settle out.

Pressure cooker:
Make sure you keep safety on pressure cooker. That it IS stainless, not aluminum. And that you do NOT boil. If you have a large canning stainless cooker, attach a column to it (cut a large whole for it). A reflux column is really nice, but strips away the flavours that you get from moonshine. But, boy is it fast.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Ok, it's been long enough for everyone to try a batch,,, or two. How did it turn out? What different recipes did you try? Its fall in the northern hemisphere, apple season, time for Apple Jack. That is a fermented and then distilled apple cider. Leaving a lot of the flavours behind, don’t strip it clean.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have heard that u can make pumpkin rum by adding molasses and yeast to a pumpkin using it as your vessal. How much molasses and yeast would I need for a vessal messuring 10" wide and 14" high subtracting 2" both ways for thickness after cleaning out cavity and using a tube for air release..how long should I brew this mixure for...

Guest's picture
Chris

I am still waiting for mine to quit bubbling. I started it on Oct. 11th and it is still bubbling a little. If you look at it from an angle and look at the lights on the cieling you can see the bubbles. It has slowed down though... Still waiting
Putting my stock pot and coils together tomarrow. Still waiting... You can really smell the alcohol.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

what yeast did you use? Turbo or distillers yeast? they can go up to around 20% or 40 proof.

Guest's picture
Chris

Well, i used Fleischmann's ActiveDry yeast for baking. I used one package. Five pounds of sugar and three gallons of water. There isn't a brewers store close. You can smell the alcohol. Looks a little cloudy like the yeast. Is this wrong ??? I was going by what I read in the posts above..

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Cloudy is ok, it’s alive with love in there. When it stops, it will start to settle. You can give it an extra couple days if you want, to settle all out. The clearer, the less taste from yeast you will pick up.

I am suppressed bread yeast is still working. Let it be, let it be. Just like the Beatles said. It’s coming along. Keep us informed on your status.

Guest's picture
Chris

I will let it be. I just take the lid off every couple of days to SMELL IT.... It smells so good... Also to see if its still bubbling... Sitting still under the kitchen center island cabinets... I am so waitting... and Waiting....

Guest's picture
Chris

Hello, I have a question, I bought a stock pot 17 qt. from Biglots, paid $12 ducks, it has a flat top, will this work for stilling ??? I plan to add coils if it will... Can't wait to get the first batch going...

Guest's picture
Zorcy

If it is stainless steal and you can seal the rim of the lid, then yes. It will work.

Guest's picture
Chris

Cool, I am almost there. Will be together soon and run the first batch as soon as it stops bubblin... I will try the bread dough seal for the rim, as stated in a prior comment. Still waiting......

Guest's picture
Chris

I have a question that someone asked me. I dont know the answer so here I am asking you. Q: Can the mash of sugar, water and yeast be drank after it is done fermenting, before you still it??? Sorry if this sounds a little off the wall.

Philip Brewer's picture

I doubt if the mash would be very tasty, unless you like yeast, but it shouldn't be dangerous.  (And if it is, because you put something dangerous in there, then you shouldn't drink it after distilling either--don't count on distilling as a reliable way to remove contaminants).

If you think about it, the mash is basically the same thing as beer.  Beer would usually be made with barley instead of sugar, it would usually be flavored with hops (which add some bitter to counteract the leftover sweet), and it would usually be bottled and left to ferment just a bit longer to make it carbonated.  But, putting those things aside, the must is basically unbottled, unflavored beer.

It should be perfectly safe--with the added bonus that it would be legal.  (It's the distilling step that makes moonshine illegal.)

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Sugar wine is ok, but it is really nasty. If you plan on drinking it, just drop $5 more and add some fruit concentrate just before it stops bubbling. If you have sturdy yeast, you can use it from the beginning. The acid is a variable that takes more skill and equipment to read and control.

You can try this; Zorcy's Hard Lemonade is 5 lb of white sugar, 10 cans of frozen lemonade, just less than 5 gallons of water, and 1 can of thawed concentrate lime juice. Do the normal boiling water, add sugar as it cools. When it hits about 150, add the lemonade frozen juice. This will drop it down closer to the 100 F you need for yeast. With this much acid, you have to train the yeast. Bloom the yeast in a small bowl of warm water. Take about half a cup of the mash and mix with it. The acid will not be as strong this way. The surviving yeast has a better tolerance to acid now. When it blooms and starts to fall back down, add to the mash. When this ferments, you have lemon wine. In the ethnic section of the grocery store, there is a drink, Malta. No joke, it is in a can, non alcoholic malt drink and can be found from Mexico and the Caribbean. This would give it more of a Mike's flavour during fermentation. I personally like to add a can of thawed lime concentrate after the first 5 days or so, instead.

When it stops bubbling, give it a few more days. You want to pull this off the dead yeast as soon as you think it’s ready. Place it in the fridge. I made a special container for this. It’s a 5 gallon, plastic bucket. I put a tap in the bottom for a dispensing nozzle ($1-2 at supply store), an air trap in the lid ($1-2 at, yes, the supply store) and take out a shelf in my beer fridge. Depending on the yeast and sugar amount you added, you can get something that taste almost like you made lemon vodka or as gentle and lemonade with a slight kick.

The work is easy, the rewards are great. At the cost of making this, there is no reason to drink sugar wine. If you want something with a little less finesse, ask about Kool-Aid. For a little more work, and to help bolster your appreciation of history and origins of drinks, try real ginger ale.

Guest's picture
Chris

Well, here it goes. Starting my first batch this morning. Been heating up for about 30min. now and no drops form the coils yet nor any steam. Kinda hard to tell if its boiling or not with the lid on. I know I donn't want to boil it, this is bad I hear. If it blows out steam I will turn down the flame.
I sealed the lid with the bread dough trick I read about in above posts. Copper compression fitting through the lid and 1/4" copper tubing as coils. Useing the fan to cool the coils this time, trying it out. I hear it should take about three hours to still off. Will repost about that time to let you all know how it goes...

Guest's picture
Chris

Ok its working. So far 3 pts. How do you know if you really have alchohol rather than the bad stuff. I am trying not to let it boil but you never know whan a covered pot is doing. I did have steam come out of the coils at one point, Then I turned down the fire. It is comming out in drips and then a little stream and then dripps and so on. Top of coils are hot about two around and the other six are cool. drippings are warm.

Guest's picture
Chris

How can I test the achohol content of what I have stilled off.

Guest's picture
Guest

Well its been five hours of stilling and I have 3 tall pints. 12oz. each. After taking things apart I have found that there is some of my bread in the mash mix. I hope this will not change the outcome. thanks allot.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Great sounding job. Wiki says "In the past moonshine has been mixed with beading oil or lye to fool people into believing that it is of a higher proof. This is because when shaken, bubbles form on the surface relative to the alcoholic strength (known as "the bead"). Large bubbles with a short duration indicate higher proof."

So you can judge the proof this way. Take a known sample from your cupboard and test to that.

Bread dough in the mash is fine; we use bread, because mash is just a form or liquid bread and won’t change it.

You only get out of the steam, what you have in the mash. If you used sugar and yeast, you have the good stuff all by it's self. If you used fruit or vegetables (corn) them you have fusel oils and will have some of the bad stuff (methanol). Don’t worry if you do. The batch is not lost. Take your 3 pints and add a gallon of distilled water, put it back in the pot and steam it off again. It should be a lot faster. You can start the heat up high, but as soon as it starts to steam, turn down the heat and go slow. Pull off 1/4 cup at a time. Smell it. If it smells bad, it is. Toss it out and rinse the cup, try the next cup. Should be ok by then. When it starts to slow down, pull the batch off and start collecting the same way, 1/4 cup at a time and add to the batch after you make sure it is ok. USE GLASS OR STAINLESS. You don’t want some odd smells coming from plastic. It would surprise you what happens when you put hot alcohol on plastic. Cold is fine, hot water is fine, but this is not so much.

Let us know how it works out.

Just put in hardwood floors. The amount of white oak sawdust is amazing. Rolling it in aluminume now and tosting it dark in the oven. A handfull of this in the pints, shake it daily, and strain it off with a double coffee filter will make some dark, aged whiskey. mmmm

Guest's picture
Guest

So other than wet bread, where can I find a food grade gasket or one that maybe I could cut to fit a pot lid?

Guest's picture
Guest

Well, I just took a shot of this stuff and WOW. What a kick. I shook the bottle of stuff, If this is what you are talking about, and very very tiny bubbles. Even if you turn the pint on its side and then shake it, little buddles that only last a second or two, now big bubbles at all on the top. tastes like a type of vodka. Well, I have another batch ferminting now with sugar, water and some corn meal and yeast. Saw the recepe in another post, just converted it for three gallons.
Where can I find a recepe for using whole dried corn, taken off the cob??? Want to try it with dried corn. Thanks...

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Someone mentioned earlier. You will need to sprout it. The kernel will protect the sugar, so you will have to crack it when you are ready. Take a sheet; spread it out in a shed or garage. Make sure there is enough heat that it thinks its summer or at least spring. Have a grow light above. Spread out the corn on the sheet, it can be thick, like 1/2 inch. Get it damp, no need to run off the water. Your goal here is to convince the corn that it is in nice, rich, warm soil. When it sprouts and they are about 1/4-1/2 inch long, dry them out. The oven works, but be careful not to cook the corn. Now comes the cracking. It will be easier then when they were fresh and dry. If you want, use the same DRY sheet, cover the corn, and roll something hard over it. They rent grain mills at beer supply stores. There are grain mills on the net to build you. Just look around. Now you have your corn ready.

Guest's picture
bud

My mash quit bubbling. but its gonna be about 5 days before i distill. Im using cornmeal, sugar, and water will it be ok to let it sit? Can i take the heater off since its done fermenting?