How To Distill Moonshine

Ever wonder how to distill moonshine? As you probably know, moonshine is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any grain or fruits. Corn is the most common ingredient used to make moonshine. And yes, it was once prohibited by law.

Moonshine is a drink that contains a large amount of alcohol. When it was illegal to make, it was very strong.


Today, moonshine is usually around 100 proof, but some people still use 190 proof moonshine. A car needs about 150 proof of alcohol to start. So, the premise of this story is believable.

Moonshine is made by distilling alcohol from fermented mash. When distilled, it produces an almost clear liquid that contains ethanol, water, and other volatile compounds such as acetone, ethyl acetate, methanol, and propanol.

Moonshine is usually sold in containers of less than 190 proof (80% ABV). Moonshine is often referred to as white lightning because of its pale yellowish appearance.

Moonshine is often flavored with various fruits, herbs, spices, and other ingredients.

But, traditionally, moonshine was made by the people who drink it. So, if you want to distill your own moonshine, keep on reading to find out how!

Getting Started: Picking Your Type Of Moonshine Mash

Moonshines are made using different mashes. Corn whiskey is the most popular type. Corn farmers realized that they could make more money by producing their own crops. That led to the creation of moonshines.

Moonshine is made by fermenting grain into alcohol. Next, you add flavoring agents such as fruit or herbs. Then, you distill the fermented mixture to make moonshine. Moonshine is illegal because it contains too much alcohol.

This guide walks you through the traditional corn whiskey mash method. Feel free to use any other guide or method you find online.

How to Distill Moonshine

ProcedureHow to Distill Moonshine Correctly

You must make a cornmeal mush by heating water to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, then adding 8.5 pounds of flaked corn maize. Stir constantly for seven minutes. Then turn off the heat source and let the mixture cool to 152 degrees.

A malt extract is made using crushed malted barley. Malt extracts are used as a sweetener or flavoring agent.

When making malt extract, you must first crush the malted barley before boiling it. You then add water to the crushed malted barley and boil it for several hours.

Once the malt extract has cooled down to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can bottle it.

When you mix the ingredients together, the temperature should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Add yeast when the mixture cools down to 70 degrees.

Make sure to aerate the mixture by dumping the mixture back and forth between two different containers for five minutes. Pour the mixture into the fermenting bucket. You need a bucket, lid, airlock, and spigot.


Fermentation is an important part of distillation process. You need to store the mash to ferment for about 2 weeks at room temperature. Make sure the mash is stored at room temperature.

Check the specific gravity of the mash at the start of fermentation, and again after fermentation is completed.

Write down the specific gravity readings. Use the formula to calculate the amount of alcohol produced. See how to measure specific gravity using a hydrometer.


Siphon mash water out, take out solids and adjust pH. Strain mash water through cheesecloth. Add gypsum if needed. Test pH. Adjust pH by adding citric acid or calcium carbonate.

Prepping Your Still

Cleaning your still is important. You should always clean your still before transferring your mash water into it. Salt buildup can cause problems when transferring mashed water into your still.

Add packing to your column. Hook up your water input and output. Transfer your mash water into your still using a cheesecloth or auto-siphon.

Your mash water should be as clean as possible. You want to reduce the amount of sediment in your mash water.

Running Your Still

Alcohol is made when sugars are fermented into ethanol. Ethanol is then separated from all the other liquids in the mash water.

You should be able to get about 1 liter of distilled alcohol per hour. You still may need some adjustments before it produces enough alcohol.

Collecting The Distillate

Moonshine is distilled from corn or grain mash. Distillers use a copper pot to boil the mash and separate the alcohol from other substances. Foreshots can contain dangerous chemicals such as methanol. These should be discarded before consumption.

Heads are the first part of the moonshine. Methanol is left in the heads, but it’s in smaller amounts than before. You should avoid drinking the head because it could make you feel sick.

Tails are the second part of the distillation. They have less alcohol than hearts but more water, carbs, and protein. You should be able to distinguish the hearts from the tails.

Only the heart portion of the animal is consumed. Tails are set aside to be used later. Moonshine is made by distilling alcohol from the tails. Moonshine tastes bad when it contains the tails.

Want to have your own still but don’t know where to start?

Check out our guide for distilling at home!

Best Flavored Moonshine Recipes

There are lots of different flavors of moonshine recipes out there. Some of the best flavored moonshine recipes use fruit juice for flavor. This gives you a lot of freedom with the flavors that you choose.

Whether you prefer peach flavor, strawberry flavor, or orange flavor moonshine, you can make it by using fruit juice in the recipe.

ConclusionHow to Distill Moonshine

You did a great job making moonshine! Your moonshine is now ready to drink. Make sure you store it properly because if you spill any, you could ruin your whole batch.

Keep detailed notes about your process, and then when you’re done, you can see what you need to work on next time.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out our other articles on making rum and vodka. Let us know what you think about this article by leaving a comment below.

Robert Kaser
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