How To Moonshine

Fermenting &
Distilling Basics
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How to Make Moonshine Using Sugar How to Make Moonshine Using Grain Moonshine Recipes

How to Make Corn Whiskey

We have a number of corn whiskey recipes we would like to share and we have started with this particular one as it is the easiest if you are just learning how to make corn whiskey. The malted barley will provide the enzymes required to convert the corns starches to fermentable sugars rather than germinating the corn and using its enzymes to do the work. This makes the recipe somewhat easier and less daunting to the beginner.

You will need-
  • 2kg (4.5 pounds) Malted Barley
  • 6kg (13 pounds) Cracked Corn
  • 23 Litres (6 US Gallons) Water
  • Distillers Yeast
As the majority of the grain bill is corn that will require a How to Make Moonshine Using Grains can be applied to this recipe. Start by soaking your cracked corn overnight in a clean bucket of good quality water to rehydrate it. Boil the corn for an hour or so until it is soft and reminds you a little of creamed corn. It will look quite a lot like plastic when it is ready.

Transfer the grain and the water into your mash tun topping the water up to the 23 litre mark or so to replace what has been lost during boiling. Allow the mash to cool to below 69°C (156°F) and add the malted barley, stirring it in well. The mash will take several hours to convert the starches to fermentable sugars and should be maintained at 67°C (152°F) during that time. Stir the mash every few minutes to keep the enzymes moving. Once conversion is complete the mash will have a clear light amber colour and the iodine test can be used to establish the presence of starch. If no starch is present conversion is complete. Seperate the residual grains from the wort (which is referred to as lautering), discarding the grain and transferring the wort into a sterile fermenter.

The sweet wort you have produced must be allowed to cool before pitching the yeast or the yeast will die or create off flavours in the very least. The wort should be allowed to drop below 28°C (82°F) in the very least and allowing it to reach room temperature is considered to much better in some homebrewing circles. Pitch the yeast and seal the fermenter when the appropriate temperature has been reached. Fermentation will take several days and possibly a couple of weeks depending on the yeast you have selected and the ambient temperature. When carbon dioxide gas ceases to bubble through the airlock and two hydrometer readings 24 hours apart yield the same result then fermentation is complete.

Transfer the fermented wash to your still and distill it twice. On the first pass discard the methanol and collect everything up to a couple of degrees below the point where fusel oils are produced. On the second pass once again discard any remaining methanol and start making your cuts at a vapour temperature of around 88°C (190°F). Corn whiskey can have a strong taste so make your cuts judiciously.

Another option to consider is to run the corn whiskey through the still until it is 95%, which is the highest alcohol content you can achieve without some fancy equipment or distilling in a vacuum (thats an environment without air not a big dustbuster). This is usually achieved in three passes through a pot still, four at the most. There will still be a great deal of residual flavour in the corn whiskey however the multiple distillations will purify it and remove some of the harshness you might encounter. Traditionally an X is placed on the jug that you store the corn whiskey in to show how many times it has been distilled.

Once you are satisfied with the taste of the corn whiskey you have a series of choices to make as to how it should be consumed. Regardless of the direction you take I strongly suggest diluting it with good water down to 60% ABV (120 proof) so nobody goes blind. From there you might consider aging it in oak like any other whiskey or possibly just storing it in a mason jar and drinking it almost immediately in the traditional southern style.