Does moonshine go bad? Running a large still means lots of shine, but how long can it be stored?
Discovering an unopened jar of moonshine in the back of your pantry can be quite a treat if you are in the mood for something tasty and thought you were all out of stock. But with this discovery usually comes a sense of worry. Just how long had it been back there anyway? Is the moonshine still good for drinking?
Most moonshiners will try to produce a surplus amount of spirits so they can gift these valuable liquids to friends and family for sampling or so they can store some for a rainy day.
Did it go bad in the time it was sitting there on the shelf?
Can moonshine expire?
The good news is that moonshine usually doesn’t expire. There are however a few factors that could impact the quality of your moonshine.
Moonshine is also known as clear unaged whiskey. There are two main types of moonshine. These beverages can either be standard or flavored. These two main moonshine types cannot be stored for the same amount of time.
This is a plain spirit. This moonshine is distilled until there isn’t any sugar left. It is the purest form of moonshine and it can last indefinitely as long as the bottle remains closed.
If standard moonshine is opened, the liquor can start to evaporate. On the up-side, the liquid that remains in the bottle still won’t be bad for you because it doesn’t go off. It simply changes in taste or evaporates entirely.
Some examples of plain moonshine spirits include rum, whiskey, brandy, gin, and vodka.
These moonshines have added sugars and flavorings that result in a different taste. Unopened, flavored moonshine won’t change much and it won’t go bad.
The fruits in unopened moonshine are preserved by the alcohol which prevents it from going off. These fruits can however become much more concentrated with alcohol and it is often best to discard the fruit.
When moonshine is opened it can go off because the moonshine will evaporate leaving the fruits vulnerable to rotting. This however isn’t very likely to happen any time soon. It will take many years for a bottle of unopened moonshine to expire.
Does moonshine improve with aging?
Some alcoholic beverages like wine can become much better when aged for a few years. This makes moonshiners wonder if their spirits might also improve if it is stored for a long time.
Wine and other alcoholic beverages are stored in wooden barrels so these beverages will absorb some of the essence and flavor of the wood. The flavor characteristics of the wood are what change the liquors taste over time.
Since moonshine is stored in glass jars and not in wooden barrels, it is not very likely to change much in flavor. In fact, oxidation of open moonshine can degrade the flavor and if your moonshine is exposed to sunlight while in storage, it can end up tasting very bad.
Your moonshine isn’t very likely to get any better by storing it on the shelf which means it’s probably better to drink up and enjoy.
How do you store moonshine?
Moonshine doesn’t require refrigeration for storage but storing your moonshine in a fridge won’t damage your spirits.
The only elements that can change your moonshine are light, heat, and oxygen if your bottle is opened. If your moonshine is exposed to any of these elements, the flavor can be affected.
The best way to store your moonshine is in a cool and dark place that doesn’t receive any direct light.
Moonshine probably won’t go bad if it is exposed to light or warmth. It might taste different or even unpleasant but it won’t become undrinkable.
Moonshine cannot really expire. The flavor and characteristics of your moonshine can be changed if it is exposed to light, warmth, or air but it won’t become undrinkable. Even an open bottle of flavored moonshine will last for many years before it will start to go off.
While moonshine doesn’t go bad, there is no true benefit in storing this tasty drink. The flavor or characteristics of your moonshine won’t improve over time because the spirits aren’t exposed to wood that can alter its taste. It will taste exactly the same way after many years of storage.
There is nothing wrong with storing a good supply of moonshine as long as you realize that storing it won’t increase the price or improve the taste of your product in any way.