20 Gallon Moonshine Mash Recipe

20 Gallon Moonshine Mash Recipe

Are you ready to take your shinin’ to the next level?  Check out our 20 gallon moonshine mash recipe. 

How Do I Make Moonshine? 






Making moonshine is a tradition that is older than the United States itself. In fact, many early pioneers in grain producing states made moonshine. 

This moonshine was a result of excess grain from the early settler’s harvest. It was very quickly discovered that fermenting excess grain had many benefits. 

Of course, the early Americans were able to enjoy delicious moonshine, but they soon discovered that the moonshine they made was worth more than the grain it was produced with. 

In fact, during this time many early settlers actually used whiskey as a form of currency as well as an item to trade. 


Best corn for distilling

A Modern Take on Moonshine



A lot has changed since our forefathers started moonshining. Modern shiners have access to quality craft stills, fresh grain and step by step instructions and recipes. In fact, some estimates say there are a million moonshine stills in the United States. 

With this in mind, many are able to see the possibilities open to a modern shiner, rather than the limitations that were put on the shiners of the past. 

Moonshining in the past has been poor tasting, dangerous and illicit. 

Of course, this may be because many moonshiners were actually focused on selling their moonshine rather than enjoying it for themselves.

As the shine was often distilled in makeshift stills made from car radiators the shine was often contaminated with lead soldering, and the remnants of antifreeze glycol products which could also add toxins to the brew. 

As modern stills come in many sizes as small as a single gallon. While in the past shiners may have put risk above safety and distilled indoors, today’s moonshiner has many more choices. 

Today’s moonshine is none of those things. Modern moonshiners are dedicated to using only the best quality craft stills with high standards for cleanliness and quality. 



Get your Moonshine Cherry


Is Moonshine Illegal? 




The legality of moonshine is still largely dependent on where you live. Fortunately, In the United States, it is legal to own a still if it is only being used to distill water or make essential oils. Which all of our stills are also able to do. 

In addition, in many states  you are able to obtain a fuel alcohol permit. This permit allows you  to produce alcohol in your still in order to run a gas powered lawn mower. 

There are many areas in the world where distilling your own spirits is completely legal. It is important to note that making your own beer and wine also used to be illegal in the United States; so change could be on the horizon. 

Check out Is Moonshine Illegal? For more information. 




Of course, if you want to make a white whiskey with a strong proof that is certainly an option. Yet, it is not the only option. 

Almost any spirit you can purchase in a liquor store can also be distilled at home. For example, you can easily make rum, rye, vodka, bourbon, absinthe and even tequila


You can also flavor your moonshine to suit your tastes. For a milder flavor you can make your moonshine with a fruit mash such as apples or peaches



However, if you prefer something a little sweeter, you can even make moonshine that can be easily flavored to work with almost any cocktail combination. For example, you can flavor your moonshine with many fruit options such as cherry, strawberry, lemonade, watermelon, blueberry, blackberry and even banana


You can even flavor your moonshine with your favorite candy or chocolate! 

Check out Is it Safe to Make Moonshine? 


How Much Moonshine Will I Get for 20 Gallons of Mash? 



A large batch of moonshine requires a large investment of both ingredients and time. Of course it is only natural that you will want to know how much return you will get for your investment. Unfortunately, like many things in this life, nothing is guaranteed. 


The amount of alcohol will depend on a variety of factors including the amount of fermentable sugar in the mash, or the amount of added sugar, and the yeast. 

A great indicator of the success of your run will be the starting alcohol and the final proof.

Commonly known as the alcohol by volume or ABV, starting alcohol is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your mash. 

For example, If your starting alcohol was 10% you could expect 2 gallon of alcohol from a 20 gallon run. This amount is far from ideal, however, there are steps you can take to make sure your runs are worth your time and effort. 

Moonshine Cheat Sheet

While there are many factors that will affect your final outcome, in general, here is what to expect in return for your runs. 

  • A 1 gallon run will yield 3-6 cups of alcohol
  • A 5 gallon run will yield 1-2 gallons of alcohol
  • A 8 gallon run will yield 1.5-3 gallons of alcohol
  • A 10 gallon run will yield 2-4 gallons of alcohol

Fermentable Sugar and Yeast 


Fermentable sugar and yeast are two important factors in your final result. Fermentable sugar is the amount of sugar available in your mash to be converted into alcohol by the yeast. This is important as too little sugar and you won’t get a good result. 

Using the right type of yeast for your recipe is also important. Many recipes will specify the type of yeast to use. However, it also comes down to personal preference. As you develop your moonshining skills you will find which works best for your favorite recipes and desired result. 

How Much Sugar do you Put into One Gallon of Mash?


Sugar is an important ingredient in moonshine. However, the amount of sugar used in moonshine mash varies from recipe to recipe. This is determined by the amount of natural sugars or starches present in the ingredients in your recipe.

If you are making a sugar shine, a one gallon recipe will use 5 cups of sugar and 13 cups of water. 

Can You Use Bread Yeast for Moonshine? 



Using bread yeast for moonshine is a point often up for debate. Bread yeast has many benefits. It is easy to obtain, cheap and will work in most recipes. 

However, it often will only produce a starting alcohol of 10%.

On the other hand, distiller’s yeast has been bred to survive in higher concentrations of ambient alcohol. So while bread yeast may die off, distiller’s yeast will continue to thrive. This can result in a starting alcohol of up to 20%. 


It would seem that using distiller’s yeast is the easy answer, however, there are some cons to using it in your moonshine. 


Distiller’s yeast has added nutritional ingredients that some complain ruin the taste of the final result. 

Many traditional moonshiners do not use commercial yeast at all. This makes sense as commercially made yeast was not available when many started moonshining generations ago. Instead they use a special process to ‘catch’ natural yeast to ferment their shine. They insist they can taste the difference using natural yeast. 

Check out our Moonshine Recipe Without Yeast

How Much Moonshine Do You Throw Away?



There is more to consider than just the amount of alcohol by volume in your mash to determine your final result. 

One of the reasons so many view moonshine as dangerous is the fact that distilling grain alcohol produces many by-products that can be dangerous if consumed. 

When you are fermenting a grain alcohol, you need to separate the ‘good stuff’ which is ethanol, from the ‘bad stuff’ which can include acetone and methanol. 

It is important to remove these dangerous by-products from your moonshine because consuming these ingredients is very dangerous. 

Methanol Poisoning



One of the reasons that moonshine is linked with blindness is because methanol poisoning can lead to a loss of sight. 

Methanol ingestion can cause severe metabolic disturbances, blindness, permanent neurologic dysfunction and death.

Methanol poisoning was much more common whether moonshiners were focused on selling their product rather than enjoying it. As the shiners were not always fractioning their yield at all or properly, the final result was not always safe to consume. 

In order to avoid this, it is important to always fractionate your moonshine properly. Fractionating your moonshine is simply separating your moonshine by temperature and as you become more familiar by taste and smell. 

In order to collect these fractions we recommend using different glass vessels. Mason jars work well. 

 Your run can be broken down into the following fractions:


  • Foreshots 
  • Heads
  • Hearts 
  • Tails


Temperature plays an important role in moonshining. In fact, distilling is simply the process of heating up your mash to separate the alcohol from the water. 

As different elements will vaporize at different temperatures, you want to play close attention when distilling. Keeping a steady temperature is essential. 





Keep or Toss?


134°F or 56.5°C




147°F or 64°C



Ethyl Acetate 

171°F or 77.1°C


Keep for a second distillation or toss


172°F or 78°C




207°F or 82°C


Keep for a second distillation or toss


207°F or 97°C


Keep for a second distillation or toss


212°F or 100°C


Keep for a second distillation or toss


241°F 116°C


Keep for a second distillation or toss

Amyl alcohol

280°F or 137.8°F


Keep for a second distillation or toss


322°F or 161°C


Keep for a second distillation or toss


Can moonshine mash ferment too long? 



While making your mash and distilling will require you to pay close attention, fermentation is the step that lets you relax a little bit. Of course, you want to check in on your mash from time to time to make sure it is still fermenting. However, it does not require the constant monitoring of distillation or even making your mash. 

The most important thing with fermentation is to make sure you have an airtight container. In most cases fermentation will take about two weeks. You will know fermentation is complete when there is no more activity in your airlock. 

Allowing your mash to sit after fermentation is complete will not hurt your mash. You can wait for even a few months until you are ready for your run. 

However, if you are fermenting a fruit mash, you can run into the risk of your mash turning into vinegar. 


What Happens if I Run my Mash too Early? 




If you run your mash too early, you run the risk of getting a lower yield of alcohol as the fermentable sugars are not fully converted into ethanol. You also run the risk of your mash boiling over during the distillation process because of the sugar present in the mash. 


The Right Equipment for the Job



When it comes to running a large batch, there is even more on the line. That is why you only want to trust your investment to a quality craft moonshine still. 

Our Magnum 50L moonshine still kit is our biggest yet and it certainly lives up to its name. With its large capacity also comes premium features to make sure each run is top quality. 

The Magnum features copper coils and a dual vapor chamber. This means that not only will your moonshine taste great, but it will be stronger will fewer runs too. 

The Magnum is not only a quality still, it is also a fermentor. This means more value for your money and let equipment to store.