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How To Make Moonshine


How To Make Moonshine

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How To Make Moonshine

How To Make Moonshine

Moonshine: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Own Appalachian Elixir

Moonshine, an illicit spirit steeped in Appalachian folklore and prohibition-era intrigue, has captivated generations for its rustic charm and potent allure. While the illegal production and distribution of moonshine has declined in recent decades, the allure of crafting your own batch of this high-octane beverage persists.

This comprehensive guide will empower you with the knowledge and techniques to create your own authentic moonshine, from selecting the finest ingredients to distilling and aging it to perfection.


  • 5 gallons of water
  • 20 pounds of cornmeal (or equivalent mash ingredients)
  • 1 pound of sugar
  • 1 ounce of active dry yeast
  • Clear glass jars or barrels for fermentation
  • Copper tubing or stainless steel coil
  • Still
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Prepare the Mash:

  • In a large pot or container, dissolve 1 pound of sugar in 5 gallons of warm water.
  • Gradually whisk in 20 pounds of cornmeal until a thick slurry forms.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

2. Cool and Ferment:

  • Allow the mash to cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer the mash to clear glass jars or barrels.
  • Sprinkle 1 ounce of active dry yeast over the mash and stir to distribute.
  • Seal the containers and allow them to ferment in a warm, dark place for 5-7 days.

3. Distill:

  • Assemble your still according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Pour the fermented mash into the still and heat it slowly.
  • As the mash boils, alcohol vapors will rise through the column and condense in the coil.
  • Collect the distillate in a clean container.

4. Measure Alcohol Content:

  • Use a hydrometer to measure the alcohol content of the distillate.
  • The higher the specific gravity reading, the lower the alcohol content.
  • For clear moonshine, aim for a specific gravity of around 1.000.

5. Rectify and Proof:

  • Redistill the distillate to remove impurities.
  • Dilute the rectified spirit with purified water to achieve your desired proof.
  • Common proofs for moonshine range from 80 to 120 (40% to 60% alcohol by volume).

6. Age and Bottle:

  • Transfer the moonshine to charred oak barrels or glass jars for aging.
  • Aging will mellow the flavor and add complexity over time.
  • The ideal aging period varies depending on your preferences, but most moonshiners recommend at least 6 months.
  • Once aged, bottle the moonshine in airtight containers for storage.


Is it legal to make moonshine?

  • The production of moonshine for personal consumption is legal in some states but illegal in others. Check your local laws before distilling.

What is the difference between moonshine and whiskey?

  • Moonshine is typically unaged and contains a higher alcohol content than whiskey. Whiskey, on the other hand, is aged in oak barrels and has a more complex flavor profile.

What are the risks of drinking moonshine?

  • Improperly distilled moonshine can contain harmful impurities such as methanol and acetone. Always distill your moonshine carefully and measure its alcohol content to ensure it is safe for consumption.

How long does moonshine last?

  • Properly stored moonshine can last indefinitely. However, it will gradually lose its flavor and potency over time.

Can I use other grains besides corn to make moonshine?

  • Yes, other grains such as rye, wheat, and barley can be used to make moonshine. Each grain imparts its own unique flavor characteristics.

Additional Tips:

  • Use high-quality ingredients for the best flavor.
  • Keep your equipment clean and sanitized.
  • Distill slowly and carefully to avoid burning the mash.
  • Be cautious and follow all safety precautions when distilling moonshine.
  • Remember, it’s not just about making moonshine; it’s about enjoying the process and sharing the fruits of your labor with good company.