What is Moonshine?
A popular homemade whiskey known as moonshine requires the right use of a moonshine still. This apparatus is designed to bring the right balance of distillation with vapor to create alcohol. Creating your own alcohol for consumption does require a license, which is why some people still call it “moonshining” as they are hiding the still within their basements.
How to Create Moonshine
Moonshine is a tricky process as it requires the right equipment along with yeast and sugar. The fermentation and distillation process must have the right balance for the alcohol to be produced correctly. Fermentation will occur when the yeast has broken down the sugar, creating alcohol. The distillation process will evaporate the alcohol, and collect the steam to condense it into a liquid form.
For moonshine to be created, the corn needs to be ground into meal and soaked in the hot water of the still. Yeast is added with salt to begin the fermentation process. The mixture needs to be brought to around 172 Fahrenheit to allow the alcohol to evaporate. The alcohol steam will be sent though a cap arm that leads to the top of the still. The right still will make it easier to obtain the correct alcohol content needed to give the whiskey or other spirits the best flavor. The crystal dragon provided by Still Dragon offers a 360 view of the entire distillation process. Moonshiners that want a higher alcohol content will need to charge the thump keg by adding undistilled mash into the keg where the steam can pick up extra alcohol vapor.
Why Moonshine Is Better
What is the difference with moonshine and traditional liquor? Moonshine allows you to experiment with a variety of elements to create a unique flavor. The main process of creating moonshine is the same, except people normally like to change a few flavors here and there to experiment with different tastes. When made in the right way, moonshine will provide a hard taste and has a higher alcohol concentration. This is why moonshine is popular as people want something with a bit of a “kick” to it. The important thing to remember is to pace yourself when you are consuming moonshine. Since it does have the higher concentration, large doses of moonshine can be dangerous to your health.
A lot of distillers will play around with the flavors to give a larger kick to the drink. Professionally distilled moonshine is one of the best ways to know it is safe. Some distillation practices include experimenting with different ingredients to bring a larger kick to the drink. The ingredients some people use are poisonous and can be hazardous to your health, but craft distillers don't employ those techniques.
Keeping Moonshine Safe
Using the right ingredients is the only way to keep moonshine safe. Mistakes can occur without the right ingredients and the right distillation equipment. Still Dragon provides several moonshine stills to improve the taste of your moonshine, and provides a clean drink. Avoid the common mistakes that lead to toxic moonshine:
- All the impurities within the alcohol will take two or three passes through the still for the alcohol to have the right flavor.
- Avoid a still that becomes too hot as it can condense, which leads to more alcohol in your finished product. You might want this, but adding too much alcohol to your moonshine can be dangerous.
As a moonshiners, it is your job to make sure you are practicing the best practices so you don’t end up with a poisonous drink.
Selecting a Still
How do you choose a still that will provide you with the right moonshine? Choosing the right still is vital to creating a pure alcoholic drink. Copper stills with large pots were the origins of the moonshining world. Still Dragon provides pot belly kettles, wall fermenters, and more. Compare the different stills to find one that provides the best outlook for your finished product.
A reflux still differs from the pot still as it has a column and an internal tray to give the moonshine a large surface area. The distillate vapors from the boiler move into the columns and are condensed. The liquid will run through the rising vapors and falls back to the trays. When the temperature reaches the right heat, the liquid will boil. This is known as a reflux cycle, allowing redistillation to improve the mixture.
Keeping a Pure Distillate
To make a pure distillate the right tools are required. The distillation is a separate purification process. The fermentation of sugars that create the mash need to be separate from the distillation of alcohol to prevent any poison problems. Denatured alcohol will occur due to the improper distillation process. So what elements are in a pure distillate? The distillate purity is related to the mash. The impurities will amount to less than one percent without detection of methanol.
A hydrometer will be able to check on how much water is contained within the distillate. Purity of ethanol is easily tested with the hydrometer and does have specific limitations. It helps you to check on the purity level, but only tasting the product will give you an idea of the exact flavor.
The boiler is the aspect of the distillation process that receives the highest amount of work. Dragon Still has several boilers for distillation that will allow your process to work correctly and provide you with the best result.
Storing your moonshine in the right kegs when finished will improve the richness of the moonshine flavor. Some people will use stainless steel kegs while others opt for wooden kegs to bring about the right flavor.
The top end considerations of a still are another element that will change the flavor of the moonshine. Keeping the right components together can provides the best flavor to your moonshine. Still Dragon can assist by offering a large variety of moonshine products for the top end of your still.