Make rye whiskey with a delicious twist with our apple rye whiskey recipe!
Making moonshine can be a simple process. With the right recipe and equipment it can be no more complicated than fifth grade science class.
However, once you master the basics, you will likely be looking for your next challenge. That is where some of our more advanced recipes come in. Blending grains, using enzymes and even adding fruit to recipes are all next level moonshine techniques. While they may be more advanced to master, they also offer more rewards.
While it is arguably easier to make a simple sugar shine and flavor it, it doesn’t offer the same satisfaction as making a grain mash and aging it. It also doesn’t quite offer the same bragging rights.
That is one of the best parts about making moonshine after all-bragging about it to your friends.
Of course, the friends show up in droves once they realize that you have plenty of shine and are willing to share. Luckily, this recipe makes a lot of shine. The recipe will yield about 5 to 6 gallons of mash to ferment. The amount of finished product will depend on your distillation process. Although we recommend distilling twice for this one.
So if you are ready to take on this beast of a recipe and you are still with us, please read on.
How to Make Moonshine: Making a Mash
Making moonshine is a three-step process. The first step is making your mash. This step is important because for a grain-based recipe like this one you need to complete a mash conversion.
A grain conversion is essentially when your grains turn from a starch into a fermentable sugar. There are many ways to achieve this. Most moonshine recipes use a malted barley. However, this recipe uses a high temperature enzyme to help with that process.
In addition to these additives, your mash also needs time and temperature in order for conversion to take place.
A good cooking thermometer will be your best friend while moonshining.
Making Moonshine is a Science
While making moonshine can take place in the kitchen, it is much closer to a science experiment. Time, temperature and amounts make a big difference between getting a good mash and wasting your time and ingredients.
Another step that only takes a moment but can make all the difference is to perform an iodine test. An iodine test is simply adding a few drops of iodine to a sample of your mash to check for conversion. This test is simple, cheap and only takes a few moments.
If there are still starches in your mash, the iodine will turn blue. This means that conversion is not yet complete and your mash needs more time. If the mash returns to its normal color, it means that there are no starches present and you are ready to ferment.
So before starting this recipe, make sure you have a good cooking thermometer, all the ingredients and a few hours to get it done.
How to Make Moonshine: Fermentation
The second step of making moonshine is fermentation. Fermentation is the process in which yeast will convert the fermentable sugar into alcohol. This process is the most hands-off of making moonshine. However, it can also be the most dangerous.
This is because fermentation causes a release of carbon dioxide. It is similar to how bubbles rise to the top of a glass of soda. If the carbon dioxide cannot be released you can have a dangerous situation.
This is avoided by either using open-air fermentation (which will leave you susceptible to bacteria) or an airlock. Usually an airlock is used to allow the carbon dioxide to escape as well as to give you an inside glimpse as to what is happening with your mash. The bubbles are your indication that fermentation is taking place. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the bubbles have stopped for about two days to distill your mash.
How to Make Moonshine: Distillation
Distillation is often the most intimidating part of making moonshine. It makes sense because the process is a little different depending on the type of still you have.
At How to Moonshine, we offer easy to use stills that are perfect for the home distiller. Our stovetop stills are easy to run at home in the kitchen. All you need to do is heat your still on medium high, attach your water pump and place it in a sink of ice water.
One of the most complicated parts of distilling is fractionating. Of course, this is one of the skills that you develop more and more as you continue to moonshine. For those newer to the craft, we recommend using many jars to catch and fractionate your moonshine. This way you have less of a chance of mixing your hearts.
Knowing how to fractionate your shine is something that will start with using temperate but you will eventually be able to tell with taste and smell. Check out the fractionating chart in our How to Make Moonshine Guide.
Amazing Apple Rye Whiskey Recipe
A classic rye recipe with a twist. While this recipe will not have a distinct apple flavor, it will give your rye a delicous taste.
4lbs of cornmeal
6lbs of milled rye
1lb of white wheat
2 lb of 6 row malt brewing grains
10 lbs of Gala Apples
3 tablespoons of distillers yeast
1 teaspoon high temperature enzyme
We suggest using a grain bag in order to easily strain your mash.
In a large pot, bring about 4 gallons of distilled water to a boil.
Add 4lbs of corn meal and stir to incorporate well.
It will get thick and take on a gelatin-like consistency.
Wait an hour. Check the temperature of your mash. When the mash hits about 190° F you can add the high temperature enzyme.
Before you add the enzyme the mash will be thick like oatmeal. After you add the enzyme, it will thin out like milk.
Add 6lbs of milled rye. Add it in slowly to check for any lumps and stir well.
Next, add 1lb of white wheat and 2lbs of six row.
At this point you want your temp to be about 145° F degrees you can add hot or cold water to adjust the temperature.
Cover and leave for an hour. While you are waiting, prepare your apples.
Core your apples and cut into about two or three inch pieces.
Place in a food processor a few apples at a time. Add about a cup of water to the food processor. You may need to add more water. You want an applesauce consistency.
Pour your apple mush into a sterilized fermentation bucket.
Once the hour is up it's time to check for mash conversion.
We want a temperature of about 70° F in order to add the yeast. You can add cold water to bring the temperature down.
Strain the solids out of your mash.
Once you have reached your ideal temperature, add 3 tablespoons of distillers yeast.
Pour the mixture into your fermentation bucket and add an airtight lid and airlock.
Allow to ferment for about 14 days or until there has been no activity in the airlock for about two days.
Once fermentation is complete, distill and fractionate.
In order to make rye, it is important to age your moonshine using oak chips or an oak barrell. The amount of time is up to you.
However, generally rye whiskey is aged in a cool, dark place for about 1 to 3 years.