First Taste Of Moonshine.

Little or nothing to do with distillation.

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First Taste Of Moonshine.

Post by Tater » Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:53 am

Reading over forum today got me to thinking about first time I ever tasted moonshine .I was visiting with my grand parents.Now of my 2 grand pas 1 was a shiner till he got caught the 2nd time .Other was lets say a good customer .I was visiting the ladder. Grandma didn't believe in likker so none was in her house.So that morning grand pa let me walk with him while doing his chores.We fed the chickens and there was a likker bottle in feed sack.But it was empty .Bottle was also empty in haystack.wood pile and old car seat on front pourch.and outhouse.So off we went over the hill through the holler over next ridge to the holler to where his brother lived who ran a road house.He would sell ya a 1/2 snuff glass full of shine for a quarter or by the pint on up .Anyway grandpa had a glass got two pints and back to his house we walked. Stopping by a spring where I had water grandpa had a snort and water .Getting back to his house where he hid pint back in chicken feed other went under seat on porch.Wile sitting on the old car seat with grandpa him taking a sip ever once in a while mostly when he could hear grandma in kitchen other end of the house he noticed i was watching his every move when he drank.Look on his face made it look like it was best tasting stuff in the world.He said boy wanna try some ? Yes rushed outta my mouth.He poured me a cap full from the pint bottle .I tilted my head back like I had seen him do and tossed it in. Swallowed it down and took a breath or at least tried to.My eyes were watering I was gasping for breath my mouth, and throat was on fire and my grand pa was laughing till grandma walked out on the porch .There he was caught like a rat in a trap bottle in his hand and cap in mine .After a lecture of the sins of a man giving his five year old grandson a taste of the demon whiskey grandpa decided it was time to check the garden with pint and cap on it dissapearing into his bibs pocket .Needless to say grandma wouldn't let me go.
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Post by hans » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:34 am

Very cool story Tater. I didnt try shine that young. about 16 years ago.some friends and I went to see david allen coe. he was at this reclaimed strip mine. they put a stage on and used it for could camp there also. we set up camp then walked over to where the concert was flip pulled a jar out of his jacket passed it around.I remember taking about three mouthfulls woke up the next morning on the hill where the concert was. the bastards left me there!! I felt like everybody that past must have kicked me. man I was sore.they said that they tried to drag me but gave up. some buddys . hans :shock:

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Post by junkyard dawg » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:13 pm

my first was my own... back in about 1984... learned it from the foxfire books and was fascinated from then till now. I made some foul hootch back then, but it did the job. Great story tater.

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Post by pintoshine » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:52 pm

Yes that was a great story.
How long after that was it that you started to distill?

I tasted my first when I was 7. Mine wasn't as bad as your experience. I would have been better off if I reacted badly. My uncle Leo gave me a quarter shot of hearts straight of the worm, watered way down. Stupid me asked for more.

I like you two jd and tater. Seems we have a bit in common. I still have that firefox book. you might like

Was that really in 1969? Wow how time flys.

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Post by Tater » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:35 pm

Started hanging with family members who shined when I was 9 or 10 .my father quit shining when he was 15 had 10 years experance.grand pa got caught his 2nd time my uncle as well he was 13 or 14 3 aunts got away. they all quit.My fokes tryed to keep us kids away from shining so I had to slip to be around it..Knew how had helped at cousins still but didnt make any all by myself till I was 19 living in waco tx.And couldnt get any brandy so I made some .That would of been in 75 or 76 Been at it ever since .
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Post by LuNaTiX » Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:17 pm

great story, I'm 20 and I never tried shine before, I hear it has quite a kick to it though :lol:

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Post by muckanic » Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:48 pm

My first taste was mine; back in the mid 80s when I hooked up a glass lab condenser to a pressure cooker and distilled some wine that had gone wrong. I wasn't aware of the importance of cuts or the use of carbon at that point, so it tasted foul and hurt the next day. The next experience was some Italian grappa. I am labelling this one as shine as well (despite the fact that it was commercial), because it reeked of fusel oil and clearly the idiots had left the tails in. Next was some Swiss farmer apple schnapps which was just acceptable, but which had still gone too deep into the tails for my tastes.

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Post by stoker » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:00 am

tater, did your family distill as hobby, or did they sell? 'cause getting in prison is pritty serious

my first taste was mine too
-I have too much blood in my alcohol system-

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Post by Tater » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:26 am

grandpa and older kids made it granny usally one at home who sold it. Grand pa also sold to road houses and country stores.Great grand dad sold local and at campgrounds to fokes on way to town or returning home.From what I was told he had a still at a mill where he would also trade likker for grain or grind grain for part of it.Reckin back in those days tax man was all ya had to hide from.
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Post by possum » Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:12 am

My first taste was from my cousins in kentuckey... I was 11-12.
Read foxfire at @ age 10, but didnt begin building my still untill 3.5-4 years ago.. unless you count the wok still.
Of course I was an applejack enthusiast, low tech and easy to do, but it was a bit of headache giver without any cuts.
Hey guys!!! Watch this.... OUCH!

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Post by goose eye » Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:41 pm

they was round 10 he made sure it was the hotest nastyest likker ever run. these boys started out in charge of the coolin barrel an dry wood. there pa called it -makein christmas- cause thats what it done. taxs an christmas
they seen a man die at a kettle -just slumped over dead- they finished the charge an then carryed him back to the house cause thats what he would of wanted. they sent for the law after they got him home.

they had kin that was caught got out an was nockin a kettle together by dark an on blocks an runin the next mornin. said how was they gonna come up with the fine hell they noed that. had diferent length sticks for a patern. doubled criped it an didnt use no solder didnt leak. they all about gone now .

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Post by AfricaUnite » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:45 pm

Probably 14, In portugal they make a drink that translates to firewater. Its about 65-80% and is made from the left over grape skins/must from winemaking. Its pretty delicious.

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Post by speedfreaksteve » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:12 am

My dad use to make "barrelwash" or "swish". I know thats not quite the same as shine, but it's sortof like our equivalent back in the day. Thankfully, it's really not that common anymore. Here's a definition of it I found on the net:

Swish (alcohol) can refer to an inexpensive alcoholic beverage made in Canada by steeping water in barrels that have previously held some sort of commercially produced beverage grade alcohol (whisky, brandy, etc.). Residual alcohol leeches out of the wood and mixes with the water. Because the result has a high methanol content, it is very potent but also poisonous and potentially lethal. Initially a hazard found in common use among frontiersmen and the uneducated, it has recently become a favorite among University students, possibly due to its potency and low cost.

I just remember how it tasted like crap, and we'd have to drink a fair amount to start feeling good.

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Nail Polish remover

Post by tonkyman » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:56 am

The first corn whiskey I had was in 1976. I was helping a tire store unload a trailer load of tires and when we were finished thye passed a bottle around. Now I was 16 years old and had grown up with NO alcohol allowed in our house so I had no idea what it would taste like.

I, like Tater, had watched them knock back a big swig so I thought that was how you did it. Tilt head back and take big swig, cough, choke, get large laugh from older guys. The bad thing about feeling like you'e going to die is that you probably won't.

I remember to this day how much it taste like nail polish remover. Even as late as a year ago I had a little and again thought nail polish remover. So wih every batch of corn I've made I have worked to get rid of the chemical nail polish remover taste. And I think I have it down pretty well now.

An old timer brought out a bottle of "3 year old" corn and told me how good and smooth it was because of the aging (white dog in a jar with no oak). I kicked back a bit and tried to keep from spitting it out. I told him that was some pretty good stuff but I had been making a little of my own and wanted him to try it. I handed him a half pint and he took a smell ---- son that has a nice corn smell to it. He took a tiny little sip and swished it around his mouth. Without a word he knocked back one long swig until about half the bottle was gone. He wiped his lips and said "smooth as water with a nice burn at the back of the throat", son what proof is that..... 100 sir, I said. "Boy! That is the best corn I have ever had". "It's smooth with a late kick, good corn flavor how old is it?" About two weeks I answered. I just cut it and bottled it last night. He was very impressed and i felt like a very big man right about then.

This man had been collecting and drinking corn all his life and he thought mine was the best he had drank. I thought he was just being nice until his wife called me and said that was all he could talk about. It felt really good.

All I can say is "Thanks Uncle Jessie". I use your recipe but I cut back on the sugar a bit, it adds more corn flavor. What the old man was drinking came from my eight run on the same grains. I do a stripping run and collect everything that comes out of the still up to around 99C. Second run is collected from 80% down to 68 to 70%. I save the heads and tails as feints but I run them as a different batch after I've collected enough.

Sorry for the long story but I was more than a little bit pleased with myself.

Thanks for all of your help.

Tony T
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Post by Husker » Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:52 am

Nice story Tony.

I have seen the same. Seems the older farmer/hoochers seem to not have the information about proper cutting. The biggest thing to get that nail polish remover flavor out (polish remover is ethyl acetate, i.e. late heads), is to properly cut out the heads.

It is amazing, that with proper cuts, and a VERY simple recipe (thanks Unc Jesse), one can make a drink that with 6 weeks or so of distress aging (and just touch of real maple syrup), makes a "better" bourbon. I took some that was about 2 months old, put it into 2 Maker's Mark bottles, and took it to the company Christmas party. Those 2 bottles were gone quick. I did later inform people that it was my own hooch, and had several of them tell me (in private), that they thought something was different, because it tasted better than Maker's Mark (quite a few bourbon drinkers in my company).

I am glad that I made about 20 gallons of it this fall, as there are now several of my coworkers who would like a little more :) I know a few farmers from back home, who make some jailhouse toilet water hooch. I would like to give these guys (they are good old gents), a taste of better grade hooch. If they like it (and I can't see how they would not), then simply teach them better methods. Tony, I hope you taught your 'ole timer' friend how to make better hooch (or turned him on to this site).


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Temperature cuts

Post by tonkyman » Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:17 am

Husker, he didn't ask the secret nor did I fill then need to tip my hand :D This old timer wants noting to do with all this new fangled technology.

Anyway, I for the longest time used a pariot to make my cuts (along with taste) but there is a slight lag time in the pariot. I have a thermometer in the column of my post still right at the transition to the condensor (still head). I've been using the temperature at the head along with the vapor chart over on to make my cuts and it seems to work MUCH better. I did verify that the chart was pretty close to what the pariot was telling me before dropping the pariot completely. It seem that the pariot was causing me to collect a bit late and to far over in the run. just a few ml of the wrong stuff can alter the flavor a bunch.

To me I have a faster reaction to change using my thermometer because I can set the alarm and make my cuts that way. I start collecting at about 83c and finish about 89. Flavor is really good with that cut. For heavier flavor take it up to 92 or 93.

Here is the chart. What do you guys think??


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Post by Ricky » Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:09 am

i remember my first shot of shine. i was 15 or 16 out with my buddies. that first swallow was quite unique. it went down like water and then just warmed the belly. next thing i knew the hair at the crack of my ass started to stand up and it traveled strait up my back to my neck. been looking for that rush ever since. wish i coulda met the man that made that stuff. it was mighty good.
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Post by Bujapat » Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:27 pm

My first moonshine's experience happened about 10 years ago. I spent an afternoon water skiing with friends, and one of them (Bob) had a bottle of homemade whiskey.... It was pretty good and later he showed me his still : a pressure cooker with 2 glas elements (column and condenser)... It took me 8 years to make the step (e.a. discover homedistillers's site...).
Since that moment, the friend (Bob) is dead (nothing to do with alcohol), but I've build my stills and each time I drink a moonshine's glas, I've a tought to him...
I'm french speaking!

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Post by Uncle Jesse » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:50 am

my friends lived on a ranch. their dad used to take wine and distill off hooch every year. he'd get a few gallons of product and kept it in a green jar in the kitchen cupboard.

this particular family was OK with the kids drinking and partying so once in a while we'd be over there drinking and someone would break out the hooch and dare people.

i tried a shot, wasn't much of a drinker at the time. it went down like battery acid. just unbelievable fire in this stuff. at the time i was impressed with the strength of it and the fact that he made his own. nowadays i realize it didn't compare to the stuff i can make now but it was a fun first start and it's good to know there are still people out there making hooch in their barns.
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Post by bcubed » Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:45 pm

Cornburner, it's interesting you mention the "legal" moonshine.

I bought a bit of it a while back, cause I thought it was humorous and it was cheap. As it was clear, wasn't expecting much flavor, but it tasted like a mild whiskey plus a slight tequila sour.

Does it taste anything like real moonshine? A friend who'd drank both said it doesn't, but I've read enough here to know you can make your product taste like just about anything.

I ask becasue most of what I've read on the web is geared to producing a high-proof, flavorless liquor that can be diluted into vodka. I'm not wild about vodka--I usually only use it to "turbocharge" red wine--and would prefer to distill something with a bit of flavor.

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Post by PUGIDOGS » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:05 am

When I was in the service a friend of mine was from Tennessee. He was not from a town, He lived on such and such cross roads in so and so county.

His dad ran a still out back somewhere. I never got to go there. Anyhow he went home on leave one time and brought back 6 gallons of shine in the trunk of his car. When I tasted it, man it was like fire water. I did not like it at all. Now looking back it did not taste bad I think it was just very high proof.

The worst part about my friend is he was kicked out of the service for being an alcoholic at age 20.

Sure wish I could have seen his dads setup!!! Pugi

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Post by Monster Mash » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:50 am

Greats stories all. Corn likker has a great social history. There is an excellent book that you can get called Mountain Spirits by Joseph Earl Dabney printed by Bright Mountain Books in Ashville, North Carolina. It is by far the best book that I have read on the subject.
I first tried it as a young boy of 16 in Fern Creek, Kentucky. My mother was from Pikeville, Ky, up in eastern Ky, and her relatives would visit every year or so and bring some "corn squeezins" along as a social gift. My dad pulled a glass gallon jug out of an old intable that belonged to his dad and offered me a "snort"one afternoon. I often think about this moment as some sort of rite of passage because dad never had a drink with me before that point. I tilted back the jug and took a long drawl and surely thought that my eyes were going to blast out of my skull! It was too late as I swallowed. I remember that it has a distinctive sweet taste that then completely overpowered me. My dad, smiling a huge grin, took the jug from me and said "now you thought all along that I was enjoying this stuff, now didn't you?" He said "Well you drank it straight but old Grover puts this stuff up at around 125 proof so I think that I am going to cut it with a little branch water" and he cut it with some spring water and drank it back and laughed. I think he enjoyed the practicle joke at my expense. I never will forget my first taste of "corn squeezins". I've always wanted to learn how to do it and I thank you all for helping with that process.
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Post by Superking » Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:27 pm

My first taste of moonshine (although, it hardly deserves the title "moonshine") was when I was in high school. A couple of buddies and I made our own pot still from scrap junk we had laying around our garages. The pot was an old tea kettle with a cork jammed in the spout. The condenser was an old retractable radio antenna that we stuck through a hole we drilled in the cork. The coil was some surgical tubing that we attached to the antenna with a zip tie. We ran the coil through a 32 oz. plastic cup that we had filled with ice.

The mash was a country time lemonade, orange peels, a TON of sugar, and water from the faucet. We let it ferment for about 2 weeks and then threw it in the still and hoped for the best.

We managed to get about 6 or 7 shots worth of "moonshine" out of the run. Being young and impatient we didn't even make an attempt to age or flavor the shine. We just collected it in a mountain dew can and served it up in shot glasses. As soon as that shine hit my lips I thought I was going to die. It tasted like citric ass and burned all the way to my stomach. After we all got our one shot out of the way none of us wanted any more. We ended up pouring the rest of it on the ground and trying to set it on fire.

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Post by bronzdragon » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:16 am

I was going to school one cold winter day when I was about 14 or so. A friend and I got on the bus together and trudged towards the back where we always sat. The floor was messy with slush from people's boots.

As we sat down, my friend, who's grandpa lived down south in Indiana, close the Kentucky line, ran a still. And he had visited his grandparents the previous weekend.

Anyway, he pulled out a pint jar from his knapsack. It was almost clear liquid with a tint of yellow to it, as best I can remember. The stuff smelled strong. I can remember asking him if his grandpa ran his cars on the stuff. :)

He said, "here, this'll warm you up." So we both took a few sips on the way to school trying to keep it covered up so noone would see.

To make a long story short, we both were sauced throughout the day, as we'd make visits to his locker between periods. By the end of the day, I had a tough hangover and was looking forward to hitting the pillow when I got home.

To make things worse, I ended up having to do some chores first with a splitting head.

It's funny how some memories in your life just stand out. I can remember that like it was yesterday but couldn't tell you what I had for dinner last week.


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Post by mikeac » Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:50 am

I was thinking about my first time, and I had originally thought it was my own no longer then a year ago. But then I remembered in middle school, ( I woulda been 14ish) a kid sold moonshine out of his locker. He called it bush whiskey and had been pinching it of his dad. I remember it was better then the stuff we later bought from the store. His dad must have known what he was doing.
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Post by Hillbilly Rebel » Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:12 am

Back in the 60s about twelve years old, I was at my grandpa's country grocery store and a little old fellow that lived in a hollow nearby offered me a drink from a pint bottle. He said it was not strong, that it was doubled. I didn't know what doubled was, but I gave it a try. I remember it as being smooth and not strong at all. Years later, the old man long dead, I talked with his son about his dad's moonshining. He told me that his dad kept a small still under their front porch, (back then, rural eastern Kentucky people built on a bank, (hillside), and their house matched the contour of the land, often the front porch would be 10 feet or more off the ground.) He laughed and told me that his dad made the children watch the still to make sure it didn't scorch and that once when they got busy playing and forgot, their dad took it out on their backside with a miner's belt, a lesson that they never forgot.

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Post by mtnwalker2 » Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:25 pm

Hillbilly Rebel, we must be kin somewhere back when. I was 11 in the late 50's and a long hike up the mountain to collect rent. A gal. of single white. Perhaps doubled, I am not sure, but was affered a tast warm out of the worm. I'd a chased it with tobasco to cool it down.

In 1970, I was dateing this gal, and she gave me a qt. in a mason jar that here unckle had made from fruit grown in his orchard. Peaches, pears plums, and berries all mixed. It was like spring water. Tasted and romanced, till I stood up. Where I landed is where I found myself next day, Pillow under my head, blanket covering, but damn hard floor. No hangover, though. I have never tasted any better spirits since.
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Post by violentblue » Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:35 pm

first shine I ever had was when I was about 14. In science class we learned how to distill water with some glass equiptment, after class I asked my teacher if that was the same way they did alcohol, He told me they called that Moonshine. I had heard the term before bunever put it all together till that day.

went home and found a half a jug of skunky wine that was going to be tossed out and made a simple still, used the glass jug sitting in a pan of water, ran a tube from the top to a jar in an ice bath.

Only made a little but it shure did burn, lit the stuff I didn't drink on fire and made a nice blue flame.

I had forgotten about that untill 16 years later I made some wine of my own, which went bad, and I couldn't just toss it out. made a simple pot still and made some pretty awfull stuff. took me a while but I figured out how to make it drinkable.

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