Moonshine

A "genuine" moonshine recipe, as still being used by Deb Brewer is ...
  • 5 gallon bucket all grain horse feed (we use MannaPro Hi Grain sweet feed)
  • one package of yeast (using bread yeast now--others will increase quality and ferment time)
  • 5 pounds sugar
  • water


  • Put enough feed to cover bottom of 5 gallon bucket a good 4 inches deep Add 5 pounds of sugar. Fill 1/2 full with warm water--warm enough to melt sugar but not so hot as to kill yeast. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Add yeast and mix some more finish filling with warm water--again not so hot to kill the yeast. Cover with lid--our lid has a little cap that screws on, leave it loose to breathe.

    4-5 days later it's ready to run! This is an old-timer recipe and works quite well. Our liquor is always 170-190 proof. You can substitute corn meal for the grain (horse feed) but I don't recommend this for pot stills cuz you can't filter it well enough. The meal will settle and burn in the bottom of your still. The old-fashion way of making corn liquor--with real corn--just is not feasible time wise.
Diamond writes from Kentucky ...
    the only way I can tell you is by the barrel full. We used 55 gal. barrels or 53 gal. oak whiskey barrels. Take 100 lb. of cracked yellow corn ( this corn needs to be air dried, not dried by gas, gas dried takes the goodies out of it) Put the meal in the barrel, put about 40 gal. of good water in your cooker and heat the water to about 100 degrees, drain the water by the bucket full and stir your sugar in so it dissolves good, we used 50 lbs. sometimes 60 lbs. of sugar on the first barrel.

    Here's probley whats different, we DID NOT add any YEAST of any kind to this. If the weather is in the mid 90's this would work off in 5 to 7 days, about day 2 or 3 it sounded like Rice Crispie's that just had milk poured over them, agin no yeast was added. We did take a wood paddle and maybe stir it once or twice a day. In those days all there was available was baker's yeast, and adding baker's yeast caused an off taste, hic-ups, indigestion or heartburn so thats why it was left out. In cold weather sometimes yeast was used to get the first barrel going.

    When the mash got "dog heads" on it, that's when the large single bubbles come about 20-30 seconds apart it was ready to cook off, its better to cook a day early than a day late. The mash also had a sour taste to it. On a 50 or so gal. cooker with two propane burners, shine would start running in about an hour. The cooling barrel was also about 55 gal. with a 5/8 inch by 40 foot copper worm, had cold water running in the top and discharging water coming out mid ways or most time at the bottom of the barrel. This first run would usually start at about 120-125 proof and let it run down to about 80 proof, this was strained through a heavy white felt hat, sometimes a double hand full of hickory charcoal was used in the hat also. You put this 80-125 proof to side to keep, but kept running from the 80 proof on down to about 45-50 proof, this would be about a gal.and we called it singles. The 80-125 proof would be about 4 gal.

    You cut your cooker off when you got to the 45-50 proof and let the beer cool down to about 100 degrees. You took about 3, 3lb. coffee cans of your meal out of the barrel and put the same amount of fresh back in ( this makes a difference in your next yield and proof) mix another 60 lbs of sugar to your warm beer and put back in your mash barrel and stir up, let it work off agin.

    On your 2nd run, put your beer in the cooker and also the gal. of singles you saved out. This run here should start out about 135 proof, have seen it go to 140, after a gal or so it may be 120 and stay 120 for an hour or better before it drops lower in proof, this run usally last about 2 1/2-3 hours and makes about 9 gal. agin quit saving it when it gets to 80 proof but keep running till down to the 45-50 proof for your singles, it will make about 2 gal or so this run, repeat the whole process 2 more times or more, don't forget to take some old meal out and put same amount of fresh back in each time and also pour the singles back in the cooker. I don't think I've ever seen the proof get above 140, but have seen 11 gal. yields.

    On your very last cooking, pour all your previous runs of the 80-140 in a barrel and run your last cooking, keep adding your makings to the barrel stirring and checking till you get the proof you want, most times we done 97-100 proof. But this could be drinked as is or if you wanted it much better, you put all of this finished shine back in the cooker and cooked it agin, this time it comes out at 170 proof and let it run to about 150. Take this and put in a barrel and mix well or spring water with it to get the proof down, it still makes about the same amount, 3 runs always made 22-23 gals. REMEMBER NO YEAST WAS ADDED!!!!!!!!!
MooNShiNeR reckons ...
    I've always gone with my tried and true, except for brandies and split-brandies. LOVE making split-brandies!! Large batches of mash ferment the best! Like in 55 gal wooden or plastic (new of course) barrels.

    • Wheat Bran ~~~~> a five gal. bucketfull and then another half bucket.
    • Sugar ~~~~~~~~~> 50 lbs. (Sam's club is the deal!)
    • Fleishman's (Bakers)Yeast ~~~~> 3 packs
    • Filler up with water.

    That'll make anywhere from 6-8 gallons of fine liquor, uuhhh Fuel, yeah fuel...

    First batch in will ferment 5-7 days and then form a cap. If you "slop-back" that mash it will work off in 3 days after the yeast is growing up to around 6-7 times. Then it's time to start a fresh mash. When the cap falls, and the beers getting a bitter taste to it, she's ready to run. If it has any sweet taste at all it is too "green" and will not produce as much and will kick and buck and act wild in the still with a posibility of blowing the cap. Not a happy experience. It can ruin yor hole day. Never knew I could run so damn fast... I know a few good common sense tricks on what to do when as far as the mash goes. If is it not workin good or too good for that matter. You make all the alcohol in the barrel. If you don't do it right there, the prettiest still in the world won't do you any good at all. Still just separates the juice from the water. Hell, you all know all that by now, I'm sure of that.

    Wheat bran: when U go to the feed store where they mill 'th grain, specify unsalted wheat bran. If the feller looks at you twice or reaaal hard, mumble kinda under yor breath, "damn horse is so constipated..."
    Sugar: Go 't Sam's Club or anywhere thet they would sell you sum 50 pound saks 'O sugar and load a couple up on yor cart. Take 'em to 'th check out counter. Whistle a tune, soft and slow like. Don't forget to whistle... And if the checkout countr gurl looks at you funny like or says sumthin smart, you jess say, "Yep, the church is havin a bake sale t'morrow and they all put me in charge of buyin 'th sugars." This'll covr you fer buyin all them packs of Fleishman's Bakers yeast too.
    Werks for me...

    My notes on sloppin back, ya'll folks've caLLed it yeast recyclin. That's just fine (must be city folk) Ya'll alright. I luv ya jess 'th same.

    Ok, see... What I'm tryin to say hear see, is... After yor first run 'O mash, save about half 'O that slop thar in thet cooker 'O yors and put thet rite back in thet there barrel. OK, bucket for you short runnrs. Add half agin as much new fresh grain to hit. DON'T put n'more yeast inner. She's got enuff rite thar whare shes at. OK, put the usual amounts of sugar rite in thar as well. Watchr work up a STORM and make sum goooood likker my frens. Specially on the thrice batch like I toldja b'fore. Now do this up to 6-7 times. Toldja thet one too. Man, ya'll gonna make sum goood sh*t, I tell ya.

    When I'm through witchall, ya gwon 't make sum two shot stuff. Two shotz and you'll be bouncing off 'th walls to find jore bed at night.

    See the Moonshine Stills Photos page for photos of his still (75 gallon & shotgun condensor) and construction details.
Brandon makes a corn whisky :
    try 25 pounds cracked corn, 25 pounds sugar, 12.5 gals water. First wash your cracked corn really good to get most of the trash particles out-- put in in a large vessel-- (we use a food grade plastic drum with a snap on lid)--in a seperate container collect 6.25 gals hot water--add sugar to this and stir unitl it is all disolved--pour into the drum with the corn-- then add another 6.25 gals. cold water -- stir mixture till u get a thermometer reading of 78F to 80F deg (25C). then add 1.5 pkgs turbo yeast(if u use it) or 4 to 6 ozs. bakers yeast-- stir for a couple of minutes and let it sit -- it will begin to ferment in a couple of hours it the temp is around 80 to 90 deg.--when the wash has quit bubbling and the liquid is clear -siphon off and distill
Wal summarises a few moonshine recipes ...
    If you want to make your own recipe, keep in mind grain contains about 60% fermentable material. About 1 to 1.5 kg of grain is normally used / 4 L (1 US gal) as the mash is quite thick, the rest can be sugar. 1 kg grain/4 L water would be equivalent to 600 g sugar/4 L, so you could add an additional 200 g sugar/4 L to give a 10% alcohol yield which beer yeasts should handle. The crushed grain needs 10% crushed malted grain for malting. e.g. a generic moonshine mash for 20 l could be 5 kg crushed grain, 500 g crushed malted grain, and 1 kg sugar. Other combinations are possible.

    Kentucky Sweet Mash
    20 L water (5 gal)
    2 kg (4 and 1/2 lb) corn meal
    500 g (1 lb)
    50 g malted grain

    'Alcohol Fuel Manual' grain mash
    20 L water (5 gal)
    4 kg (9 lb) crushed grain
    400 g (1 lb) crushed malted grain

    Ian Smiley's Corn Whisky
    20 L water (5 gal)
    3.5 kg (8 lb) flaked maize
    750 g (1 and 1/2 lb) crushed malted grain

    Moonshine : 'Old John Barley'
    20 L water (5 gal)
    2 kg (4 and 1/2 lb) crushed corn
    700 g (1 and 1/2 lb) crushed barley
    300 g (3/4 lb) malt syrup
    1 kg (2 and 1/2 lb) molasses

    Moonshine
    20 L water (5 gal)
    3 kg (7 lb)crushed grain
    4.5 kg (10 lb) sugar

    Moonshine
    20 L water (5 gal)
    2 kg (4 and 1/2 lb) corn meal
    300 g (1 lb) malted corn
    2.5 kg (5 and 1/2) lb sugar

    Moonshine
    20 L water (5 gal)
    6 kg corn meal (uncooked)
    0.6 L malted corn

    The Fine Art of Moonshining
    Fermenter - barrel (55 gals or 220 l)
    1/2 bushel (30 lb or 14 kg) Corn Meal
    a)
    3 & 1/2 lbs (1.5 kg) malted corn
    2 handfuls raw rye to form cap on fermenting mash
    Optional - sugar, 40 lbs (20 kg) in 2 lots - 10 lb (5 kg) then 30 lb (15 kg)
    Yeast not mentioned.
    b)
    1 bushel (60 kg) corn meal
    1 & 1/2 gal (6 l ) malted corn
    Yield -
    Pure Corn 1.5 gal (4-6 l)/bushel (28 lb or 13 kg)
    Corn & Sugar 6 gal (24 l)/bushel (28 lb or 13 kg)
Shawn is learning corn whisky from an elder neighbour...
    He has learned this through trial and error but he is willing to try and teach me. For example there is not allot of exact science that he uses. Its mostly by site, smell, tasting and touching.

    Please remember allot of hard work goes into making the mash if you do not use sugar. The problem that I have now is that there is not a local mill here in C that will grind the malt without asking questions.

    He does not use a hydrometer but he reads the bead. Here is how he does it. He takes a quart mason jar half full of the distillate with a lid on it. He holds the top of the jar in his right hand and hits the inside of his left hand with the bottom of the jar three times. This causes the distillate to bubble inside the jar and before the bubbles settle he turns the jar onto its side and it will break into three consistent pools. Thus he said is 103 proof. He was right because I checked it with a hydrometer and its between 100 and 104 every time. Nothing replaces experience

    The still ...He has had several different sizes over the past several years but all of them were made of copper. Typically they were pot stills that had thumpers attached to them. He primed the thumpers with what he refers to as backings. Which I have interpreted as (what was at the end of the previous run.) The actual boiler was surrounded with a type of clay and rock mixture and was heated with propane burners. The boiler did not sit on top of the heat source. It was heated indirectly. The large still that he used for corn whiskey had a tank that set beside the still with tubing that ran from the cap of the still through the container. This was filled with mash and was preheated by the current alcohol of the mash being distilled. When he had gotten to the end of the first run the old mash was discarded through a valve at the bottom of the still and the new preheated mash was drained into the still from a valve at the top therefore eliminating the slow heat up of the new mash. Just in a few minutes there would be distillate running. The cooling was done by a 1inch worm in a 55 gallon barrel with cold water being piped up from the creek.
Things have changed quite a bit since the "real old" moonshine recipes ... Jeff wrote of
    SOUR MASH MOON SHINE
    • 1 bushel of hard (seed) white corn
    • bury corn in horse manure
    • pour 5 gallon of water over the corn
    • corn sprouts in about two days
    • remove corn and wash
    • roll the corn to crack it
    • put corn in a 55 gallon barrel
    • add 1/2 bushel of corn meal
    • add 5 pound of sugar
    • fill barrel with water
    • in 21 days a red skim will form and it is time to cook it put a hose with a stopper in the end and push it to the bottom. Blow out the stopper and siphon off the mixture until about 4 inches is left in the barrel
    • strain remaining liquid, put in cooker, cook it till it boils, then simmer.
    • yields 1.5 gallons of 105 proof moon shine!!!

    SWEET MASH MOON SHINE
    • 1/2 bushel of corn meal in 55 gallon barrel
    • 5 pounds of sugar
    • 1/2 pounds of "Red Star" yeast
    • Scald the mixture with 5_10 gallons of boiling water
    • fill barrel with water till five or six inches from the top.
    • cover barrel with cloth and wait till it quits working (about 2-3 days)
    • cook mixture until it boils
    • put a hose with a stopper in the end and push it to the bottom. Blow out the stopper and siphon off the mixture until about 4 inches is left in the barrel
    • strain remaining liquid, put in cooker, cook it till it boils, then simmer.
    • yields 4 gallons of 90 proof moon shine!!!
Dave replied to these with ...
    Your recipes are interesting conversation, but I don't think you would want to drink the whiskey made from either. Whiskey made from corn exposed to horse shit will have a flavor dissagreable to most. The amount of whiskey produced by the second recipe is way off base. A good rule of thumb is that there is one US gallon of 100 proof whiskey in a bushel of corn. Also, one gallon in 25 pounds of sugar. Here is how my late grandfather made

    ALABAMA CORN WHISKEY:
    • Take one bushel of untreated seed corn.
    • Put it in two croaker sacks ( burlap bags to any Yankees reading this).
    • Put each sack in a #2 washtub of water at about body temperature.
    • Weight each sack down with a concrete block.
    • Soak the corn for 12 hours,
    • Bury the sacks about 4 inches deep in the compost pile.
    • He had a special compost pile for this. It was composed entirely from oak leaves.
    • When the sprouted corn root is about half the lenght of the corn grain you are ready.
    • Wash the corn in clear water. Grind the corn very course. He used a Corona mill.
    • Put the ground corn in a 50 gallon wooden barrell. Finish filling the barrell with water.
    • Add 12 packs Fleishmans yeast. Let ferment until complete.
    • Siphon off the liquor, leaving behind any dead snakes, rats, birds or other varmits.
    • Put it in the still. Fire it off slowly.
    • If anything came out in under an hour, you are too fast.
    • Run it through the still 3 times. Catch the first pint of each run. Save it for your Coleman lamp. It ain't fit to drink. That is where your headaches are.
    • Yield should be about 1 US gallon of pure 100 proff, triple distilled whiskey.
    • Don't empty the spent grains outa the fermenting pot just yet. You can use it to make seconds or " backins" as the old timers called it. To make 'good stuff' add another bushel of sprouted corn ( no more yeast) . Let it work and repeat the above procedure.
    • To make rot gut for your brother-in-law add 20 pounds of sugar and proceed as above
    • Keep in mind: Never, ever under any circumstances whatsoever let anything touch your whiskey except wood, stainless steel, copper or glass. Age your whiskey in charred oak barrels for at least a year. Or for small amounts, tale a wide mouth gallon jug. Add lump hardwood charcoal ( NEVER use briquettes, only REAL charcoal). Fill with whiskey. Age at least a year. Filter through a coffee filter & drink it.
    Nearly 40 years ago, as a young scientist, I took a sample of grandpaw's whiskey and several storebought whiskeys to the lab & ran 'em through the gas cromatagraph. Grampa's was much more pure !!
Mark found an old recipe ...
    "It is many years ago that this Norwegian recipe was used and I put it down here just for a matter of record. It would be a blessing if modern distillers would adopt this old pure old formula.

    Take one bushel of corn meal and one-fourth bushel of malted barley meal. Place them in a large kettle and cover with enough good well water to cover the meal at least four or five inches. Slowly bring to a low boil and simmer for at least one hour, preferably two hours, and keep adding water to keep up the water level as the meal absorbs the water. Stir to keep from burning. This cooking or mashing gives the malted barley enzymes a chance to change the starch in the corn to maltose which is an easily fermented sugar. Yeast cannot change cornstarch or any other starch to sugar. Remove the pot from the heat. Let cool and strain the liquid from the cooked meal into a fifty gallon oak barrel. Add well water to the cooked meal mass. This is called "sparging" it and stir and again squeeze out the liquid. Repeat until all of the liquids possible are washed out of the cooked meal. Add about one hundred pounds of corn sugar or invert sugar or cane sugar, if you do not have the others, and stir in well. Fill the barrel about three- fourths full by adding good well water. Take a saccharometer and test the solution. By adding sugar or water, adjust the solution so that it will produce sixteen percent alcohol. Add a gallon of top fermenting yeast "starter" or about five pounds of yeast skimmed off from a previous mash or bakers' yeast if you have no top fermenting yeast. Put a cover on the barrel as yeast produces alcohol much faster if it does not have too much of a supply of air. Never set a mash where it is windy or drafty as then the yeast will turn the sugar into carbon dioxide and water, not carbon dioxide and alcohol. Let ferment at not colder than 75 degrees. Test the wort or liquid every day with a saccharometer. Let the saccharometer go between 996 and 998.

    Then siphon and run the wort through a pot still, not a patent still, in not less than three hours time producing not more than ten to twelve gallons of whiskey running about 90 proof. Strain the whiskey through a three-foot-thick layer of hard maple charcoal. Add one quart of dry sherry wine and the juice from a level tablespoon of nutmeg boiled in a half cup of water to the whiskey. Store in oak barrels or in glass jugs with a few oak chips in the bottom. The oak barrels or the oak chips will give the whiskey color. No modern maker has ever equalled this whiskey and will admit it if asked. It is so smooth that you can drink it down like water, needs no mixing with anything. Any Scandinavian worth of the name was highly insulted if you ever tried to diulte this drink of the gods." Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes -- G.L. Herter, circa 1969


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