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
Zorcy

Colinb

At 11.7%, with a perfect run, you can only get about .3 gal at 190 proof. you can cut that and get just over half a gallon at 85 proof, drinking level. If you run it to 18.8% and have a perfect run, you get .6 gal at 190 proof. When you cut that, you get a full gallon and a few drinks extra.

That is a big difference for just changing the sugar and yeast. Bread yeast will not ferment all the sugar if you have 8 lb, so don't mix the recipes. Burned sugar does not taste as good in your vodka!

Guest's picture
Guest

Hello, I have a question about puchasing dried corn on the cob from the feed store and taking it off the cob then putting it through a corn grinder that makes it cracked, but not too big. Not as fine as corn meal but like chicken feed. Can this be used to make shine or bourbon. If it can be used, do you have a recipe for it?? How much cracked corn , sugar and yeast. Thank you on this idea..

Guest's picture
WARman

Where can I buye a device that tells me the % of alcohol that is in my mash and what is its name.??. How often should it be tested before stilling??

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest
Here is a recipe for all corn. I would not suggest PURE corn, without the sugar. Corn does not ferment as well. You should consider adding some enzymes. I've mentioned before bean-o, try that.

Whiskey
INGREDIENTS:
10 lbs. Whole kernel corn, untreated
5 Gallons Water
1 Cup Yeast, champagne yeast starter

DIRECTIONS:
Put corn in a burlap bag and wet with warm water. Place bag in a warm dark
place and keep moist for about ten days. When the sprouts are about a 1/4" long
the corn is ready for the next step. Wash the corn in a tub of water, rubbing
the sprouts and roots off.. Throw the sprouts and roots away and transfer the
corn into your primary fermenter. With a pole or another hard object mash the
corn, make sure all kernels are cracked. Next add 5 gallons of boiling water
and when the mash cools add yeast. Seal fermenter and vent with a water sealed
vent. Fermentation will take 7-10 days. When fermentation is done, pour into
still filtering through a pillow case to remove all solids.

Not to plagiarize, here is their site, so they can have credit where credit is due. http://www.coppermoonshinestills.com/id28.html

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Warman
Try this, http://www.milehidistilling.com/alcohol_ethanol_e85_measuring_equiptment...

It works on a wash, clean, no grains. You take a reading of the sugar in the wash. When it is done fermenting, you take another reading. This tells how much sugar was converted to alcohol. There is a meter that works only for distilled alcohol. I have not used one. You could just do the bubble test. You can do a search for popcorn sutton on youtube. He can show you how to judge the content by reading the bubbles. He was the real deal on moonshiners.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Yeah, Warman, the milehigh people have the whole kit and caboodle for about $15. The hydrometer will tell you how much alcohol you have in your wash, (theres loads of easy to read charts online where you just type in your starting and finishing readings and it comes up with how much alcohol you can expect); and they include an alcoholometer as well. You just pour your finished moonshine into a measuring container and float the alcoholometer in it and read the scale printed on it to see what percentage alcohol by volume you have. (just double it to give you an american "proof" figure). Really easy. I have one myself.

Guest's picture
WARman

Willeboy, Thank you for the information on this. Do you have a web address to the milehigh people?? I have made some shine in the past and It is pretty strong and the guys in my group likes it and say, "OOOOOHHH WWEEE!!!. Thats some good stuff." I want to try to make some others but the directions tell to adjust the hydrometer reading if needed. Tell me how this is done. Do I just add more water and or more sugar?? Will try the Apple Pie Brandy next. Black Beards Rum is the one that tells to adjust the hydrometer reading as needed. this is on my list after the Apple Pie Brandy.. Thanks for all you do. Warman

Guest's picture
branflakes

Ive been reading on this site forum for a few days and great info and i still have a few questions

what ive read is that if you just make a sugar water mash than there is no heads or tails is that true and if that is true the only thing i dont want is the water in it?

and if i just use a two liter bottle to ferment is it going to stink bad should i put it outside or can i just keep it in the house (id rather do that so i can keep an eye on it but outside is fine)?

also ive heard of people talking about cherry and green apple moonshine and id like to make that?

can i add apple or any fruits to the finished product in the bottle or will that be harmful to ingest?

and i would like to thank all the people on here with the useful info

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Branflakes

Great handle! There is a recipe for cornflakes too.

For all practical purposes, you are right. There is not enough baddies in the wash to be a nuisance. Sugar is a product of a plant. There will be some residual plant product in the sugar that will cause *some* oils and methanol. The amount is so small, you wont know its there.

You can ferment anything with sugar or starch. It can pick up the nasties you don't want. You should use what ever is free, close to free or as cheap as you can get. You will need to distill according to what you use. If you are looking for the flavour, may i suggest infusing your product? That is when you take 120-150 proof clear alcohol, soak the fruit (frozen and thawed to split cell walls). Depending on the fruit, will depend on the time. An example would be strawberries to apples. The strawberries will only need 2-3 days. The flesh is soft and delicate. Apples are a tougher flesh and may take a month or more. The flavour and colour will transfer to the alcohol. Add enough citric acid (or lemon juice) to preserve the colour. You can stop there and have a flavoured drink. If you want to keep working it, cover the fruit in white sugar. The sugar will pull out the rest of the flavours, colour and alcohol. It will turn to syrup. Pour that off and keep it separate. Sugar it again, and again, until it stops dissolving the sugar. Start with the first batch and add it to the alcohol until the taste is to your liking. It will be cut my the juice and sugar, but you may want to cut with water, too. You can filter it thru cotton if you like. Again, this was someone else's idea, and they need credit. There are more here, so visit: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2199 You may want to join, but do not leave enough personal info that a court order could use to find you ;)

Guest's picture
Branflakes

Do you have any insight on ageing and if i do use a corn sugar water mash how much head and tail do i take off someone said if i get a thermometer and put in the the still sticking into the mash that the tempature will stay the same when certain things are boiling (such as methonal) i think it was 148 so if it says at there for lets say 5 mins thats all the head that comes out , Is there any truth to that?

and does anybody have fuller details on ageing the shine ill ive seen is that u use white oak but it doesnt tell you how to do could i just char that oak and stick it in the mason jar ?

Guest's picture
Branflakes

i have yet another question, i think i might expirement with some honey wine first and i was wondering if i make some could i distill it and if i can (i think i can cause it has alcohol in it) if it would have any methonal or any other harmful things

Guest's picture
Guest

Seeking Knowledge
Did pretty good on my 1st 2 tries with reflux. Have 2 jugs. One is 90+% and the other is 85+%. Both are real clear. But both have just a hint of carmelized sugar. May not be a bad thing, but I wonder. I am using a turkey frying propane set up. I turn it on full blast and 20 qts starts cooking in less than an hour. Should I cook it lower and slower?

2nd question. I filtered the raw product 4 times on a Brita and the water to cut it with once. Both were clear. Both at room temperature. I pouer the water into the product and it has a slight cloudy look. Definitely not clear as the water and product before mixing. What did I do wrong?

Guest's picture
willieboy

Zorcy, "Guest", ColinB, etc,
I'm still having a small bit of difficulty here with the interchangeable american/european terms. When you all say 85%, and after that it's all tails.................????? Do you mean 85 DEGREES proof? Not 85 percent alcohol? It'd take a damn sight lower than 85% alcohol around here to qualify as "tails"! In this neck of the woods we all usually just keep collecting it in a demi-john, or "mason jar" , testing it for strength at intervals until it hits , say 50% alcohol, (100 degrees american proof..... about 85 degrees european proof). That's what we'd call "whiskey" or poteen. Distilled to the strength you drink it at. What we call "vodka" is a different thing altogether. Has to be distilled to at least 85 % by volume and then cut down with distilled water. And when it gets down to 50% while distilling it, we just switch jars and keep collecting the weak stuff down to about 20% and run it with the next batch. Different customs, I suppose.

Guest's picture
Guest

Willie Boy,

In my example, just before your comment:

Yes 85 and 90% by volume. And yes, it's vodka. And yes, I do draw it down farther and save it to 'recook' with a new batch. Amazing how much 90% by vol you can draw with a few of these 'tails'.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Warman,
if you scroll back up a bit and check out the post by Zorcy just above one of yours, you'll see an address for the milehigh company. It's a clickable link; the hydrometer and stuff are on the first page of it; $12.99 , I think they were, for the whole lot.

Guest's picture
willieboy

And the bit in the Blackbeards Rum recipe.............where it says how much ingredients to use, letting the water cool down a bit before adding yeast, and then says to take a hydrometer reading and "adjust as necessary". I assume he meant to adjust the wash as necessary, either by adding more sugar or diluting the wash slightly, whichever is needed, to give you the recommended starting point of a gravity of 9, (which would read as 1.09 on the hydrometer I have here). Looking at that recipe, though, a starting point of 9 or 1.09 will only give you an alcohol content of 10%, which seems right for the 2lb of sugar to the gallon in the recipe. I'd be tempted to put 3lbs to the gallon and boost it up a bit to about 15%. That would be a starting gravity of about 12, (or 1.12, if you have the same type of hydrometer that I have). A good wine yeast will do it in about 5 or 6 days at the right temperature.

Guest's picture
branflakes

Do you distill black beards rum? and if you dont can you to make it stronger or will it just lose flavor?

Guest's picture
branflakes

I had an idea about a still thats already put together and is in most house holds but this may just be a dumb idea a coffee maker you think that could do it ?

Guest's picture
Barron

Hi, I have been brewing ales for a couple of years now and learned some intresting infomation from this site. Reading the questions and ansewers provided I have noticed that their is some repetitive questions about yeast, fermentation, etc. Let me try to ansewer some of your questions that have already been ansewered. When you put together distilled water "because its 99.9 % clean" and your fermentables "suger, corn syrup, carrots, etc." and YEAST!!! in a clean container, you then have the ingredints for fermentation. Fermentation is the process of the yeast eating or converting the sugers into Co2 and alcohol. If you have not let your must or wert "any ingredients put together prior to fermentation for taste, perserving, alcohol content, etc,etc, and etc" go throu this fermentation process then you don't have alcohol. You boil the must to kill microscopic organisms like wild yeast. If you don't do this process you could wind up with a not so good container of nasty stuff. The smell and color or physical look of your must while fermenting can let you know it things are going correctly. If it smells or looks bad don't drink it "think refrigerator". After your concaction has cool to the right temp then add your yeast. Adding yeast is not complicated just read the directions on the dame package, the yeast package should have directions or tell you the right temp for adding it. Their are different kinds of yeast, just ADD THE YEAST PLEASE! Just remenber that if you use suger with beer yeast get ready to pucker up because it will be very sour. You should use corn syrup with beer yeast. Yeast for baking and wine is good for fermentation of sugar. You should know about how long to wait for your yeast to do it's thing so that your sugars have been proscessed. There is no one ansewer for this. Just because you don't see evidence of fermantation does not mean that its finished. Don't worry about adding to much yeast because during the process of fermantation there is yeast all over the place. Once the initial process has started to calm down you will see it collect at the bottom of your fermenter which is the container with which this process occurs in. Add one packet of yeast at least because if you don't use enough yeast then that could give way to another organism getting a head start in your wert. About distillation of your fermented stuff. Although you have used all the proper ingredients and did everything perfect you will have in small % of alcohol like methanol amoung other stuff. These other alcohols in homemade beer or wine or whatever are not enough to be harmful. You could drink yourself do death before these other alcohols killed you. I don't recomend trying to make moonshine if you don't know the basics of home brewing. The distillation of fermented concactions is complicated their are different variables that apply and unless you have detailed instructions and help DON'T DO IT or you will see what I mean!

Guest's picture
Barron

The Joy of Home Brewing.

Guest's picture
Barron

Go to Wikipedia and look up stills. Coffee machines are for coffee.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

all,

Sorry I was away so long, kidney stones are tough. Seems most the answers were given already. Using most any form of pure sugar, including honey, creates such a small amount of heads and tails, as to not worry about it. You get more from using the grains and fruits that stay in the wash. Pectin seems to assist in methanol, may need some input on this from a chemist. Not all grains have the same issue, the husk being present. As Barron stated, if you can drink 5 gallons of it and not go blind, then you can distill it down and drink that, too. There is no chemical change in the outcome. You are using temperature to physically separate 2 compounds. Water and alcohol.
Most anything with a heat source can be used to create a still. There are solar stills that work, too. If you are looking for something as slow as a coffee pot, try the Amazing Still. They came up with a great idea. It is a plastic bucket, a floating collecting bowl, a convex lid and a heat soarce. They use a nice fish tank heater. If you have a 5 gallon bucket, it can hold about 4 gallons of wash, drop in the heater, float a bowl that will always have some part in the centre. cover the top with plastic wrap and place a weight in the middle, like a coin. the heat will cause some slow evaporation that will collect on the wrap, drip down to the coin and fall in the bowl. This is not a very efficient still. There is very little to adjust. What you get is what you get. You can expect it to take a long time.
Likewise, you can use a small bit of wash in a coffee pot on the burner. Create a wooden lid, that fits tight. Drill a hole and run off a chemical resistant hose, about 1-2 inch across. Run it to a sealed collector. It will run so slow, that you would loose a lot to evaporation if you do not seal it.
If you are willing to take that kind of time and not care about the outcome, just use the one I mentioned in the beginning. Use a large pan, float a bowl, invert the lid, seal the edge with wet dough, put ice in the upside down lid, now bring it to just below a boil. I got this from an article written in an eastern block country. It escapes me where. It does work. It carries over the flavour of the wash, a LOT.

I do agree with Barron, everyone needs to learn to brew beer. Whiskey is distilled beer. It teaches yeast usage and time controls.

If you have a unique idea for a still, ask. It could start something new, never before thought of.

Guest's picture
willieboy

I tried using a wallpaper steamer one time. Not really greatly efficient as it didn't hold more than a couple of gallons and there was no real way of controlling the temperature either. But I still reckon there's a viable use for it; maybe take the steamer plate off (they're detachable) and run a pipe into the still from it to steam-heat it or something.
I ran that coffee stuff through as well. If you drank it blindfolded you swear it was coffee with a shot of overproof vodka in it. Smells like coffee, tastes like coffee, but crystal clear. Only thing missing is the caffeine hit. Might use the backsets for another batch.

Guest's picture
WARman

I have a question for you, My wife really doesn't want me to store my "mixes" in the house any more while ferminting so, with that in mind I was wondering if I could store it in my shed??? It veries in temp. 90's+ in the days and as low as 60's right now during the night. Will this temp change mess up the mixes or does the temp need to be more regulated even.??? Thanks.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Warman

Get a chest freezer or beer fridge. You will need to add an external control system to regulate the temps to the fermenting ones. There are as many ways to build this as there are people who need one. You could insulate a large wooden box or plastic storage bin and put a window AC unit on it, too.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Or just get an aquarium heater from your local petshop. They're cheap enough to buy. iIt'll ferment anyway; just not at night, so it will take a lot longer.

Guest's picture
branflakes

Is it a half pound of sugar per gallon or pound per gallon

Guest's picture
willieboy

Probably didn't explain that in enough detail there, really. If you put your fermentation vessel in a large cardboard box and pack the space between the container and the box with bits of expanded polystyrene it will help to protect it from extremes of tempereature and keep it at a constant level. An aquarium heater set to the correct temperature would then help it ferment completely in a much shorter time. And Warman, I'd go for about at least 2 or 3 pound a gallon. 2 pound a gallon will give you 10% alcohol; (or about 12% alcohol US; american gallons are smaller); you could maybe go as high as 3 and a half pounds a gallon if you were using a turbo yeast.

Guest's picture
WARman

Willieboy, I used Seven cups of sugar in the three gal. batch of Shine this last time and a one and onehalf cups yellow corn meal with Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast. This is the first time for me to use this yeast. We will se how things come out... I did find a spot to store them inside this time... Also making a three gal. batch of Black Beards Rum. First time for that, using the same yeast in it too.

Guest's picture
WARman

Willieboy
My post VANISHED. try this again. I found a spot to store my mixes in the house so the shed is out. One batch I used 7 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal and one package of Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast. We will see how this comes out. I am also trying a batch of Black Beards Rum. Also with the same yeast. I will let you know how all this comes out in about two weeks. Any tips on future batches.

Guest's picture
WARman

Remind me about something. Do I need to stir my mixes any time during fermintation. Black Beards Rum and mash for shine. Sugar water cornmeal. BBR ihas a slow bubbles like a pin head, you can see on the reflection of the top of the mix amd the shine is really bubbling good, bigger bubbles. What to do, what to do.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Warman

Let it run out on its own. It is trying to work hard on complex carbs. That takes more time and is much slower. You can add some BeanO to speed it up, but it may over flow. Wait till it ferments out for a week, then add the BeanO. It will have less to convert and will start back up slower.
Patience comes to those who wait...... yeah, right!

Guest's picture
WARman

Zorky
Good tip but what does the beano do to the mix how does it make it work better or over flow??? My BBR is slower than the shine and is to run for 6 - 14 days. The shine says to run for 5 - 10 days. when or should I add beano and how much?? Should I add another package of yeast or part of one to either first.?? BBR has 6lbs. of brown sugar and about 1/2 cup of honey. one package of yeast to make a 3 gal. mix. Got the recipe from free site mentioned way above.

Guest's picture
branflakes

I know this q had been asked but why does aluminum release poison when distilling alcohol but with a pressure cooker cooking other things it does not poison or was this just an old wives tale

Guest's picture
branflakes

people worry about methonal but when making moonshine does it also produce propanol and if so how do you get rid of that

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Warman
Yeast can break down simple carbs. There are complex carbs in the grains. The yeast will attack the stuff it can until it runs out. When you add BeanO, an enzyme, breaks down the carbs to simple carbs and allows the yeast to carry on and convert it to alcohol. You could just as easily add malted grains. They are a bit more expensive and not as convienent. If you have a full bucket of sugar fermenting, it will bubble, but not foam so much. If you have the same amount of sugars in a wash that is loaded with grains, it will foam more. During heavy fermentation, that will overflow. If you allow the first part of the sugar to ferment, then add the BeanO, half the foaming is done and will cause less foaming.

Branflake,
Aluminum breaks down over time with regular use. Even using the pressure cooker for cooking, you get some. Very small amounts over time. If you raise the temps, it does it faster. If you add chemicals, it does it faster. If you combine chemicals and heat, you can picture it happening a lot faster. Some aluminum comes out of the system with sweat. It causes the gray shirt stains under your arms. They sell tape for the bottom of your feet, too. As far as propanol, looks like you have to set out to make it. Looking up the production on wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropyl_alcohol makes it look like no accident. I would not worry about it,

Guest's picture
Guest

On Cutting the Product........Cloudiness

I still have not found an answer on solving the cloudiness problem. I have searched many sites.

To reiterate: I filtered both the water and the product. I poured the water into the product and got instant cloudiness that did not go away. Both were at room temp. We get our water from a well and it is probably hard to start with.

1. Should I have both at a higher or lower temp?
2. Does it matter if water is poured into product? Should it be the other way around?
3. Should I drip it in, as opposed to pouring?
4. Should I distill water for cutting purposes?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest
You should use distilled water to cut. You could have something in your local water. Then again, you could have some oils in your product. How many times did you run it. Did you pull off heads and tails? What did you use for the wash, all sugar? try to freeze it and see if it drops out.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for the reply, Zorcy. I was working with 90% pure, off a reflux. I cut the heads and tails. I will try distilled water and let everyone know how it works. I've got to think that our well water, being hard, didn't get completely cleaned of the minerals by the Brita.

I must say that the cloudiness didn't hurt the taste. I used Liquor Quik's Kentucky Whiskey and their Southern Whiskey. Some pretty savy drinkers thought they were Jack and Southern Comfort, respectively.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest
Was looking on line for more causes, that about covers it. One suggestion they made, if you do not like the looks, distill again.

Guest's picture
branflakes

What would be good to infuse with moonshine , and if i took a mason jar of shine and put piece of hickory wood for grilling would that age it and give it flavor because i cant find white oak to do it

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Branflake
You can age it with wood, but I would infuse it with fruit or herbs. For aging, hard woods will work, but not give the flavour you are used to. You will need White America Oak for the traditional taste. Some specialty flavours use French Oak. Don't forget to burn it a bit, the charred wood takes out some impurities.
To infuse, pick a local fruit, like plumbs or peaches. Take out the core or pit. Cut into slices and freeze. Thaw it back our, put in a jar, cover with clear liquor. Shake every day for 2-14 days. Soft fruit is quicker then woody fruit. Strawberries will take 2 days, apples and pears 2 weeks. drain off the liquor and store. Tap the fruit down loosely. Cover it with sugar and let it sit till the sugar dissolves. Pull that off and save it in a separate jar. Repeat this until the sugar does not dissolve. The first batch of syrup should be used first, it's the strongest. Then you add the others to taste to your alcohol. squeeze some lemon in to preserve the colour. You can filter through cloth, then a big wad of cotton. If it is too thick, warm it up in water. That is how you infuse with fruit. You will find large Mason jars with fruit floating in it. You leave the fruit in, with some type of acid to preserve the colours. There is lemon juice or fruit preservatives to add, just for looks. You can drink it with the fruit still there, but it wont have the sweetness to it.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Zorcy,
Do you add the lemon juice to the syrup/infusion BEFORE you add it to your alcohol, or do you add the syrup stuff to your alcohol and then add a bit of lemon juice to it? Or does it make any difference?And the first batch of syrup doesn't have any added sugar, just alcohol and fruit, is that right? What if I was using something like, say, pineapples or sloes, that have an acidic sharp taste to them to begin with? Should I add some sugar to the first batch before covering them with alcohol?

Guest's picture
Joshua

Two questions that I have not found on this article (albeit I did not search too, too hard)

1st: Do you have any information on how to make natural yeasts... instead of using brewers yeast or bakers yeast... I mean how is the brewers yeast made...? I am a baker and am very familiar with various types of yeast; natural and "processed"

my intentions are to make an "organic" spirit; using constituents of my own manufacture...

2nd: Any words of wisdom on using a thump barrel...?

and just as a post script a third question... what wisdom can you share on the use of herbs in the post distillation; such would be used in the making of Absinthe... I do not wish to make any Absinthe (although good Absinthe is in high demand) but to add my own finishing touches to the spirits...

Thank you for your time...
Joshua

Philip Brewer's picture

On the topic of yeasts...

There are yeasts everywhere—on fruit, in flour, floating in the air. Whatever random yeasts happen to be around can potentially be used to make the alcohol in your beer, wine, cider, or spirits. In fact, most wine is made with the wild yeasts that live on grapes.

There are several downsides to using wild yeasts.

The biggest is that there will be other microorganisms living along with the yeasts. In particular, there are the acidobacters that live on alcohol, turning it into acidic acid—they're what make vinegar, which is probably not what you have in mind. There are also lactobacilli that turn maltose (a key sugar in grain) into lactic acid—they're what make sourdough sour and also what give Belgian ale its distinctive sour taste. If you use wild yeasts, you will very possibly pick up one of these guys.

Probably next biggest is that some strains of yeast are more alcohol-tolerant than others. That's the big difference between brewers yeast and bakers yeast. The baker's yeast will die at around 10% alcohol, while brewers yeast can survive up to twice that. Using brewers yeast lets you get stronger wine and means you don't need as much distilling.

Finally, the wild strains are simply going to be different from one another. Some will be faster or slower, some will add off-flavors, and so on. Packaged yeast will simply be more consistent. That's not so important if you're making each individual batch as a one-off anyway, but there is some comfort in knowing that if you use the same yeast each time you can expect the same result.

The whole reason that people bring their wort to a boil is to kill any wild yeasts (and other microorganisms) that are living in it, so that they can add exactly the yeast they want. It provides consistency, and reduces the chance of ending up with vinegar.

Guest's picture
willieboy

joshua, check out a page called "erowid psychoactive vaults". Got a lot of info on absinthe there. The main ingredient, apart from alcohol , is Wormwood. Has hallucinatory properties, apparently. Banned in a lot of countries. I wouldn't touch the stuff myself. Although you can actually buy it over the counter here.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Joshua,
actually if you were going to go for a truly organic yeast, you'd be better off manufacturing your own. This might sound a bit unpalateable, but here goes anyway.I used to know a girl from Uganda, East Africa, and one time she was telling me about the local home-made beer, a brew made from millet, called Pombe. They used to boil up a load of millet or maize and sweeten it with wild honey or whatever sugary stuff they had to hand. When it had cooled down a bit, every member of the tribe would spit into it. The white stuff on your tongue contains yeast. If you have no contagious diseases it's safe enough. It's stronger than bakers yeast. If you want a consistent result, you'd save the yeast from the bottom of the brew when it had almost finished fermenting, and use it in next batch of beer. Much as in the same manner as sourdough yeast.Can't say I'd be really up for a drinking-session with the Swahili guys myself, to be honest.

Guest's picture
branflakes

so if im able to find some white oak could i just stick in the mason jar of the shine, and how do i go about charring it

Guest's picture
branflakes

im going to make a still out of a crock pot , with the plastic lid pose any problems such as leaching out any bad chemicals

Guest's picture
WARman

Day 9 of fermintation of my first batch of Black Beards Rum. Just checked it to see if it was still bubbling and it sure is now. You can see it moving the mix around. Allot of little bubbles all over. The batch of shine is also on day 9 of fermintation. It too is bubbling really good. Will check it in a couple of more days and report in then on its progress. P.S. they smell GREAT!!!

Guest's picture
WARman

In an earlier post you mentioned useing beano in the mix while ferminting. I have checked several stores in my are and one one carries this any more. May I use the pill form in the mix useing one or two pills??? Thank you for all your help.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Willieboy,
The lemon can be added any time. It is a long term preservative and gives some flavour. Correct on the alcohol only part, you are just infusing to start with. The sugar is used to pull out the alcohol that is absorbed in the fruit. When it is pulled out, it takes with it, the flavours and colour. Pineapple is a common fruit for this. You can find it in large jars at bars with Gray Goose. You may find the flavour is great with out pulling the extra flavour with sugar. If that is the case, just eat the fruit, but don't drive.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Joshua,
1 You can do yeast just like sourdough. As a matter of fact, just take some of your starter and throw it in. If you want to go really old school, just let the flies and bugs land in the mash. They carry their own yeast. You can pick a few grape leaves locally and throw in also.

2 It's straight forward. Don't over pressurize, it can blow up if not as strong as the still. I use a large mason jar and have the still bubble into a solution (or herb) and steam off to the top of the jar where there is another pipe going to the coil. See the setup here for an idea http://stilldrinkin.com/images/Column-Venom.jpg

3 Finishings can make absinthe or gin. There are many recipes, i have looked up wormwood, we don't have it local. You can buy a still for making essential oils. You would cram the chamber or thumper full of flowers or herbs and then separate the oils and water from the product. Just use wash instead of water and you get gins, absinthe and what not.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Branflakes,
Your best bet for the oak, shave it off or cut it and use the sawdust. Don't use the sawdust from sanding. Wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it till it starts to burn some but watch out that you don't start a fire. If you want to make it easier to clean up and filter later, you can make lots of splinters and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake it for a while till you smell smoke. Do not open the foil, it will start burning. The foil keeps it from breathing enough to burn. Then you can slip the charred remains in the bottle and pull it out just as easy.

The crockpot may be ok for the heat source, but not for the container. It is small, not sealed enough, no way to attach a column and the plastic lid can leach chemicals.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Warman,
I take the BeanO tablet, crush it and toss it in. It would work better to mix with a cup of water before adding to the mash. If you use pure grain, then use more BeanO, if you use partial sugar, use less. Start with about 1 tablet per gallon. You may be able to cut it down, but you will have to play around to find the right amount.

Guest's picture
branflakes

i ended up using a tea kettle because i couldnt find a pressure cooker at walmart but and so it take a several runs to get a jar one run got me less than a 3rd of a a quart mason jar

Guest's picture
branflakes

do corks leach anything else, because when i ran my tea kettle still and got done i pulled the cork i used to plug the hole some brown liquid came out of the cork it was an old champagne cork but is there any harm ?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Branflake,
I use cork to seal my bottles. It has been used for ever. You may have some champagne coming out of it. Either way, not much to worry about.

Guest's picture
branflakes

i used it to plug the hole in the tea kettle still not in the bottle but i dont think it would do anything

Guest's picture
branflakes

is there anything else besides flour and water to make an air tight seal with a lid and pot becuase im gonna convert a 12qt pot into a still

Guest's picture
willieboy

branflakes,
playdo will do the job. Food-grade stuff, ready mixed. Basically flour and water anyway. cheap enough and saves the hassle of mixing your own. Re-usable if you can be bothered scraping it all off.

Guest's picture
Guest

oNCE, IN A PINCH, when my rubber gasket broke, I used old stale bread. Got it wet and squeezed it into a dough. It worked fine.

Guest's picture
WARman

I use a piece or two of bread and just a little water to form a dough. Then press into the lip of the lid. Works great for me. I use a large stock pot with a hole in the top for a 90 degree elbo compression fitting to connect the coils. Works for me.

Guest's picture
Guest

ON a CLOUDY DAY

I thought my cloudiness problem was solved with distilled water. The 1st quart and a half of Kroger's Distilled water, the product and water combined and was very clear. I tested it and it was still way too strong. The 2nd quart combined and turned cloudy as soon as mixed. I don't know. Maybe it says more about Kroger's product than mine. At any rate, even with no aging, I mixed in some Amaretta essence and it is as good or better than store bought. Once the Amaretta goes in, you don't see cloudiness.

Guest's picture
branflakes

im gonna make a still with a stock pot but the stainless steel one is a little more expensive could i use the porcelian stock pot like this one http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-12-Quart-Stockpot/13377929

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Branflakes,

You could use that for a while. It will last as long as the porcelain coating is in tact. You will get chips and bare metal where you cut a hole in the lid. These will rust, rather quickly. You mentioned Kroger's. That seems to be in the south east US. There is a chain there called Old Time Pottery. They sell large lobster pots for cheap. Cheaper then the pot you were looking at.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Zorcy,
just made a strawberry liqueur and a pineapple liqueur. Tastes great, but it's a long process with multiple filterings to get them looking anywhere near clear, isn't it?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Willieboy,
Get it warm enough to thin out. That helps. Don't bother filtering till you are done. Some old timers used a large ball of cotton, about the size of a small child's ball.

Guest's picture
branflakes

a tiny piece of cork fell into my mash should , will that make more methonal , should i still distill it?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Branflakes

Don't fret the small stuff, it's a long walk back to Eden. LOL. No need to worry. If you made all your mash out of wood, I would be worried, but just a bit is less then the fiber you get from fresh fruit juice. You will never know the difference.

Guest's picture
gator

so, in short and theroy, one could easily take 1 u.s.gal of water and 1.68lbs. of sugar, heat it to boiling, then reduce temp to below 140F. add 1 packet (8.75g.) yeast.stir. wait 10 to 20 days, freeze it overnight and take off ice and are left with "shine"...right?, can it be that simple?

Guest's picture
gator

and if i read right in here somewhere i think i see that 1 u.s. gallon will yield aprox 1.5 u.s. quarts?

Guest's picture
willieboy

Gator,
yep! It's that simple. You're talking about jacking it instead of distilling it? Put it in a container with a "clicky-fitting" lid and cut a corner off the lid. It won't freeze clean like you can pick the ice out; it'll go to a sort of slush. You can pour the shine out through the cut-out corner that way, leaving the slush behind. It won't freeze overnight, it'll take a day or two, depending on the quantity. You might have to do it a couple of times to boost the alcohol content right up. And then you'll have a load of stuff full of heads and tails. Put it in a saucepan and warm it it gently for a while: (don't bring it to boiling point); that'll get rid of the heads. Haven't figured out a way of getting rid of the the tails by jacking it yet. Incidentally. there's a couple of beers that are 50% alcohol. A brit one called "sink the bismarck" and a german one that I can't recall the name of at the moment. They're both jacked up to the 50% level by freezing them.

Guest's picture
gator

willieboy,
thankyou, and i am using a 1gal, 1pint ice cream bucket with the "clickey-lid".
i make my own beer via MR.BEER beer kits, so this method is fairley simular, with MR.BEER we got to heat the wort to a boil and pour it into cool water in the "beer keg" never exceeding 140 except to boil. then adding the yeast letting it set for a few minutes then stirring it in. wait a week or two and botteling/ carbonizing, all in all the two weeks is the same time frame from start to drink. i just started my "home made shine" and ill be going on vacation for a week and half, so no tampering with it to let "bad air" in.
i hope this works for me, im kinda excited about it bieing my first batch of shine ....wich is totally for educational purposes....cough cough
good day
and happy drinking

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Gator,
Try this extra step. When you freeze it, pull it out to thaw and refreeze. Every time you do this, you get layers. After a few times, the very top will be almost pure water. You should be able to pull it off as a sheet of ice. Be careful with 140 deg water. Some yeast can handle it, but others have to be cooler. I have always liked it to be cool enough to stick your hand in without having to pull it out from burning, about 110.

Guest's picture
Guest

been 3 days now, is it supposed to get a little bit of a sour smell to it, or did i mess up and kill the yeast with to high of a temp?, or should i just go and just leave it alone till its time

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest,
Is the sour smell similar to the yeast smell you started with? Is this a fruit mash, grain or sugar? If the 3 days just the fermentation time or the jacking time (freezing)? Sour grain mash got its name from smelling sour. Fruit should smell more like yeasty wine. Sugar wash should have almost no smell. Taste it and see if it is sweet. Don't swallow it. Just a taste to see if its what we are looking for. If there is sweetness, then it may be bad. Dead yeast smells like,,, well, yeast. Sour will taste sour, have no sweetness and a film that looks bad. Toss that one out.

Guest's picture
gator

i think it is ok, i decided to let it go, and tasted it today, i can feel the alchahol in my mouth, and the yeast is still very active, the smell has went away, and i am getting anctious to drink it, i do hope it will be done to where i can drink it by the 4th, thanks for the help

Guest's picture
gator

i thought it was done today, looked at it, it looked calm and still, but look at the light and still some activity, but, i went ahead and started two more 2 gallon batches, one is plain, and the other i added 2 packets of grape coolade just as an experiment. the coolaide wont hurt anything will it?

Guest's picture
Guest

Once again, in search of knowledge

When is it best to used toasted oak in the product, before or after cutting?

What are the draw backs of leaving it in longer than specified ?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest,
You age it on uncut product. The stronger alcohol will cut into the wood better. If you want to pull out more flavour, pull the wood out and soak in just enough water to cover it. Active transport will carry it to the lesser level of alcohol and carry all the flavour with it. You can use that to cut the high proof alcohol. When you filter through the Britta filters, it needs to be cut down below 100 proof, or 50% alcohol, first. If its too high, it will strip all the impurities you are trying to filter out of the filter, and put them back in the alcohol.

Guest's picture
Guest

Zorcy
Thanks again for the come back. You are a wealth of information. I had been running the raw product through the Brita.

I had been having problems with cloudiness. The last cut I did, I took cold filtered water from the frig and dumped it into the room temp product. Perfectly clear.

The first time I got 'cloudy' was with tap water filtered thru the Brita. The 2nd was with Kroger's distilled water. For what it is worth.

1.Is aging with toasted oak necessary when you are going to be using essences in the product ? I use a reflux.

2. I was at Lowes last night. In their out door area, they have big bags of plain wood chips: Hickory and apple. Only $4. Apple seems intriguing . Anyone try toasting apple?

Guest's picture
Pat

Hi......I was at the 'free moonshine recipes website', and I noticed that nothing is said about distilling after fermenting. I liked the Welch's grape juice moonshine brandy. Do you have to distill it?
If you had to distill it, I have an old style aluminum pressure cooker, could I use that?
I'm worried about the hole plugging and blowing up. What risk is there?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest,
If you are using essence or flavouring of any type, you do not need to age. The oak is was brings out the vanilla, cherry, apple or any number of flavours from the alcohol. If you are going to cover it up, why waste the time?
The wood chips at the hardware store are not very sanitary. You will find bugs, mold and animal droppings in it. Enough said about that.

Pat,
If you read farther back, we discussed the negative aspects of aluminum. It is best you do not use that as the still. You can use it to generate steam for a stripping column, but that is a little harder to do for just the fun of it. As far as the moonshine recipe, if they ferment it, you must distill it. It they are using alcohol to mix with Welch's, then you can just drink it.
There is always a chance of explosion with a still. If you leave or build in safeties, watch it closely and design it right, you will be fine. On a pressure cooker, it is designed to hit pressures mush higher then the small stills we describe here would need. If you leave large particles in your wash in the still, it could plug the pipes. If you have a 4 inch pipe coming up the top, the odds of it plugging go way down. On the flip side, if you simply run off 1/4 inch copper tubing to a coil, there is a good chance you will get back pressure and some dangers. Plan well, design right, build safe and NEVER leave it while its running. You will be fine.

Guest's picture
Guest

Dear Z,

So Aging is really only for pot stills that carry flavors thru the distilling process along with the product? Not for pure ethanol/vodka ?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Guest,
You can use charred wood to age and flavour pure alcohol. It will give it character and notes that you would want. You can even use completely stripped alcohol. It will add to what you already have. If you have some carried over flavour, it adds to that. It is not needed to age if you are ADDING the flavours from a kit. They have the "aged" flavour already in there.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Gator,
Almost lost your post. They do not flow very well. Unless it was the immediate post, I would not post on anything older. As far as the Kool Ade. I would not ferment with it. It is not a real fruit. It is more along the lines a list of chemicals designed to trick your nose and tongue to believe it is. They can interact adversely with the fermentation. They could also separate during distillation and come out only a single chemical that reacts with alcohol in an unexpected way. You could just use the Kool Ade pack to make 2 quarts of Alco Ade. Mix it up at the end. It could still give you some adverse effects. But should be no worse then using Kool Ade for making mixed drinks at that point.

Guest's picture
evilNat

I have a question:

If you use an old fashioned pressure cooker how do you monitor the temperature of the solution being boiled as most don't have temperature gauges?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

EvilNat

You can use a cheap digital thermometer and read the outside temp of the pot. If you hear it boil, turn it down. You can have a slight boil if you have a column running, but just a coil coming off the lid will not separate the alcohol fast enough. You can also watch the drippings. If it is blowing steam and you can not condensate fast enough, turn down the heat. If you are getting out no steam and lots of alcohol, you are doing fine.

Guest's picture
gator

zorcy,
i didnt get back here in time to see your advisement. so i added the coolade in the begining with no adverse sideeffects throut fremintation or freezing, all went well, tho some did settle wich is fine cause it left a slight grape taste after i ran the "slushy" through a centrafuge..salad spinner... tho, i must add i was quite dissapointed of the ammount of alcahol there was, but i didnt think there was going to be alot ,its just that it wasnt very strong...to me... i am an avid drinker, so that may play a part in it too, so on my next batch i will go ahead and try to purchace a stainless pressure cooker and some copper tubing and try that route, i use and electric stove, so that minimizes the risk of explosion due to gasss., aslo i must add that i didnt know what to expect going into this, where as i have never made, nor tasted shine,..
73's
gator

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Gator 73,
Was it still sweet? If yes, then you yeast may be a low octaine type. If it was dry, then you could have added more sugar to turn into alcohol. Check your starting gravity and see what your potential % would have been. The other possibility, is that the flavour of the coolade, covered the alcy taste. That would be great! Then you can jack it up to about 20% and just taste it.
For the coolade you added, when you leave ice behind, its clear. That means all the coolade came over with the alcohol, and will be concentrated, too. That is like taking a pack of coolade, 1 cup of water and a cup of sugar. It wont taste like you expected. If you use a single pack in 2 gallons with enough sugar to have some left over for sweetness, they you ice filter it in the spinner, you would want to keep doing it till you have 2 quarts left. That would take a couple times freezing. Keep jacking it till you get what you expected, but plan ahead for what you want.

Guest's picture
Wallace

Hello Everyone,

Philip Brewer and Zorcy, I cannot express how shocked I am at your patience and dedication to your thread. Over 2-3 days, I have been through the majority of the nearly 600 posts on here, and just can't get over how helpful and insightful you are to this discussion. You must both have an amazing love for the art, and I hope this is something I can learn and pass along to future generations of my family and friends.

But not the distilling part of course ;)

If I may;
Three days ago I began my first fermentation process with the recipe noted in this article. I am using a cleaned / sterilized five gallon plastic water bottle for the process, which has a balloon rubber-banded atop the opening with a few needle pricks in it to let the gas out. I have it in an empty (unplugged) refrigerator in my garage. I figured - or hoped atleast - that this would keep some of the temperature fluctuations down.

The first evening, I followed the recipe exactly, and after being placed in my storage refrigerator, it bubbled nicely and formed almost like a crust of the by-product (?) along the top of the mixture.

The next morning, that said crust is gone. With zero trace of it existing in the first place. After three days, I can still see tons of tiny bubbles breaking on the surface, but that crust has not came back. Currently, it is very, very lightly yellow in color, and when shined upon with a flashlight, you can't see past a few inches into it. So it is pretty cloudy. And again, bubbling like crazy.

I guess my question / concern is should this missing crust be there?

I should probably note;
- I used 2 packets of the baker's yeast
- A meat thermometer in the refrigerator stays right around 85-90 degrees
- Since it is enclosed, it is always dark
- I used three, one gallon containers of distilled drinking water
- I used one, five pound bag of white granulated sugar

Any help would be appreciated. And it (whomever who answers this) doesn't respond quickly, I totally understand. If the mix WAS to be distilled, it isn't needed until the first weekend in October, so there is plenty of time to start over, if need-be. But I am hoping that isn't the case...

In advance, thank you for your time and knowledge...

Philip Brewer's picture

Thanks for the kind words!

As Zorcy says, it all sounds like it's going along fine. The crust is just going to be things like dead yeast that haven't sunk to the bottom yet, so it will vary depending on how fast the yeast are growing. (Probably with things like the humidity as well.)

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Wallace
Sounds perfect! If you have enough time, make several batches. Bakers yeast is peter out at the end. You may not see many bubbles as it finishes up. Wait for it to start to clear, then pull off the clear liquid, leave the yeast in the bottom inch. So long as the yeast is active, it will stir itself up. The top crust is from HIGH activity. It slows down after that. Usually, for sugar washes, you don't see the foam very much. I would say everything is on schedule and working fine.

Guest's picture
Wallace

Hello Zorcy...

Thank you so much.

I was a bit worried that my post didn't go through, I see now it probably goes through an approval process.

I actually got the materials to start two more batches of the stuff after work today, and was delighted to find your reply. Even more-so that I am on the right path.

The anxiousness is getting to me, I am on day five or six and can't wait for the final product. That being said... Any recommendations for a more active / faster / higher ABV producing yeast? I'm in kind of a rural area of Florida, and the closest brewers' store is a good hour away. So the internet will probably be my means of purchase.

And sure enough, I walk into the house with 20 lbs of sugar from the local 'superstore' and the news channel's top story is how Wal-Mart is starting to track buying trends by customers... With only buying sugar and yeast from them in the past few months, I giggled a little bit.

Again, thank you so much. I can't express how much your advice has been appreciated. I've called a few brewers' stores looking for some advice, but don't get too much politeness out of them...

Guest's picture
ExMachina

Dude I'm almost positive that from what else I've read around the internet all Aluminum is bad in this process because of the risks associated with aluminum oxide. Probably a good idea to edit aluminum out of this post. Still though great post

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Wallace
If you have read '1984', you will know big brother. He is watching you! LOL. Just pay cash and start making bread from scratch, it will be ok. My advice for yeast would be distillers yeast or Turbo Yeast. When you prep the wash, remember, it will go up the 15-20% alcohol. That means you are wasting yeast if you don't put in enough sugar. Since Yeast is at a premium that far out, you can harvest yours. Save just a bit of yeast, start a colony on the counter, move it to the fridge and feed it every few days. It will slow down in the fridge, but not die. When you are ready to use it, pull off 1/4 to 1/2 cup and bring to room temp with a little more sugar and water mix. You will see a lot of activity to indicate it has woken up. This will work for some time before the yeast starts to change and loose its virility. The distillers yeast I use is about $6 CAN for 4 cups. Good luck and let us know how it turned out.

Guest's picture
Wallace

Zorcy,

Good lord you are a wealth of knowledge!
I have not read the book, but will put it on the 'to do' list. Currently I'm on 'The Universe in a Single Atom' ... but that's way off topic. I wasn't too concerned about the news story though, but for the most part, always pay in cash. But thanks for the tip... Haha...

I actually ordered a packet of some kinda yeast earlier today. Supposed to be up in the low 20% return. I was shocked though, the recipe called for 4.7 gallons of water and 23 lbs of sugar. Thats a dang ol lotta sugar!

If you don't mind sharing, what brand yeast are you using?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Wallace
I got the yeast from the beer supply store. I don't know the brand, sorry. The more sugar you use, the more alcohol you get. It is a direct connection and exchange. I would save a little yeast and grow that in the fridge.

The books sounds great, the universe does look like an atom, though.

Philip Brewer's picture

You have to match the amount of sugar to the kind of yeast yeast. If you use baker's yeast, there's no point in adding extra sugar beyond the recipe provided in the post—the yeast will just die when the alcohol content gets too high, leaving behind wasted sugar.

If your yeast can survive double the alcohol level, you can add twice as much sugar. For moonshine, that may save a little time and energy at the distilling stage, but probably not enough to pay for the fancy yeast. (And the result, after distilling, would be about the same.) For wine, though, it's very reasonable—baker's yeast would top out with your wine still pretty weak.