Make your own moonshine from the comforts of home with the tastiest corn moonshine recipe.
Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to make your own spirits? Do you love to take a DIY approach to life and are ready to take on your next challenge? If you are ready to take your love of fine spirits into a fun hobby you can expect it will yield some truly delicious results.
Drink in all This History
Making moonshine is not a new hobby, in fact the act of fermenting food dates back to 6000 BC and every civilization since has included at least one fermented food in its diet. So while fermenting food started long before the discovery of the United States, moonshine does play a large role in American history.
Early American pioneers, particularly those in grain producing states, began to ferment any excess grain rather than dispose of it. Those early Americans soon discovered that they could get a lot more money for whiskey than they could for corn. In fact, during this time whiskey was commonly used as currency.
Early settlers were able to use their excess grain in a profitable way as well as use whiskey as currency or as part of a barter system which was beneficial for early communities. However, all of this was about to come to an end. This change was due in large part to a founding father who has recently been in the spotlight.
Alexander Hamilton did many great things for the United States, but he was also largely responsible for the downfall of moonshine.
Hamilton imposed a 'Whiskey Tax' in order to collect money to repay the costs of the American Revolutionary War. While this was a great plan in theory, it certainly did not go off without a hitch. The Whiskey Tax actually caused an uproar and many lives were lost. Moonshining went underground for many years.
Classic Moonshine Recipe, Classic Moonshine Taste
Moonshining is a great hobby because it offers so many options for making your favorite spirits. While you can actually make a mash from almost anything, from simple sugar, fruits and even breakfast cereal-the classic recipe uses good old fashioned corn.
Many traditionalists like to stick with a simple corn mash recipe for making moonshine since it is the way moonshine has been made for so many generations. In fact one of the most famous moonshiners, Marvin ‘Popcorn’ Sutton, swore by his family’s 100 year old corn moonshine recipe.
So corn is a classic moonshine ingredient, but how does corn moonshine taste? The answer is smooth, strong and with a hint of sweetness. If you are a fan of tradition, taste and smooth moonshine with a kick, this corn recipe is for you.
Getting Started Making Moonshine
Now that you are committed to making moonshine, how do you get started? The best way to start your moonshining journey is to gather all of your supplies and equipment. Like any new endeavor, quality supplies and equipment can make all the difference in both your experience and your yield. Making moonshine is no different.
While making moonshine uses many familiar items that you likely already have in your kitchen, they are usually on a larger scale. Our cooking pots are oversized to handle the large volume of ingredients. Our wooden spoon needs to be long in order to fully incorporate your ingredients. Even the cheesecloth we use to strain our ingredients is a special unbleached organic cloth to ensure the highest quality.
A great first step in moonshining is to check out our extensive equipment list to make sure you have everything you can possibly need to create high quality spirits in your own home. There is nothing worse than starting a project only to discover that you actually don’t have the right equipment at home to get the job done right.
A Quality Still Makes all the Difference
If you are choosing to make a traditional recipe, why not make it in a traditional way? Popcorn Sutton was a big believer in the importance of using copper for distillation. This belief was based on the fact that copper reacts to remove sulfur on a molecular level. By removing sulfur naturally with copper you are able to yield a better tasting product.
At How to Moonshine we have two different options for those who are seeking a high quality still with the power of copper.
We have our 5 Gallon Copper Alembic Moonshine Still Starter Kit which is truly a piece of art. This high quality still will truly produce a quality run for those who want only the best product for their efforts.
Want more bang for your buck? Check out our Blue Ridge Stainless Steel Stovetop Still Kit. This kit has the option to include copper tubing to take advantage of that great sulfur removing power of copper at a much lower price point. It also is a stovetop still kit which means you don’t have to worry about purchasing a separate heat source. Did you forget to purchase the copper tubing for your Blue Ridge Stainless Steel Stovetop Still Kit? No problem! You can always pack the thumper with copper mesh for a similar result!
Equipment List for Making Corn Moonshine
So now that we know the importance of using a quality still to distill our moonshine, let’s take a look at what else we are going to need to cook and ferment our mash.
One of the nice things about the Blue Ridge Stainless Steel Stovetop Still Kit is that the still also doubles as a fermentor. This means you don’t have to worry about buying a fermentation bucket, lid or airlock. It is also nice because it not only means less to buy but it also means less to store. Of course, if you did not purchase an all in one kit, you will have a few extra items to buy when it comes to fermenting your mash.
For this recipe you will need:
A Large pot:
We love the The Bayou Classic 44 Quart Stainless Steel because it is made from surgical grade 304 stainless steel with a vented lid and heavy duty welded handles. It also has the added benefit of a strong perforated basket that can be lined with cheesecloth to make it easy to remove solids from your mash.
A long spoon:
A long spoon is essential since your pot will be deep and you want to make sure you can reach all the way to the bottom to incorporate your ingredients effectively. We love the HIC Brands that Cook 97050 15-Inch Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Bamboo Kitchen Spoon. Make sure you choose the 15 inch option so you have the length you need to get all the way to the bottom.
A cooking thermometer:
Temperature plays an important role in producing a quality shine. We love the HABOR Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer because it is inexpensive, accurate and has an extra long probe and can read temperatures from -58℉ to 572℉(-50℃ to 300℃). This makes it perfect for moonshining.
Cheesecloth is an inexpensive option for straining your mash. Many shiners like that this option allows for the maximum amount of liquid to get squeezed out with sanitized hands. We like the Olicity Cheese Cloth because it is large (20 x 20 inches) unbleached and ultra fine and reusable.
Of course, if you have purchased an all-in-one kit like Appalachian Complete Stove Top Moonshine Still Kit, or the Blue Ridge 5 Gallon Stove Top Moonshine Still Kit you don’t have to worry about purchasing a fermenting bucket, lid or airlock.
However, if you have not purchased an all in one kit, you will need to purchase these items as well.
We like this option by Home Brew Ohio, although it does not come with an airlock and is quite expensive. However, it does offer a spigot at the bottom which is a nice feature to have.
If you do require an airlock for your fermentation bucket we recommend this option from Rilla Mart. It is perfect for making moonshine, beer and wine.
Of course you need a way to remove your moonshine from its fermentation vessel. We like this Grip Clip siphon. It is easy to use and offers superior grips so there is less chance of spilling.
12 Mason Jars:
Using multiple mason jars makes fractioning your moonshine much easier. As a bonus, you can reuse the jars for storing and serving your final product! Are you unsure how to determine your foreshots, heads, hearts and tails? Take a look at our complete how to moonshine guide!
Using an immersion chiller is not strictly necessary, however, many seasoned moonshiners like to use one in order to rapidly cool their mash in order to avoid the possibility of growth of bacteria before yeast can be added.
We like this option by Homebrew Stuff because this immersion chiller is copper, which has up to 28 times the thermal conductivity of stainless steel. In addition, It also has adapters for either the garden hose or kitchen faucet so it offers options depending on how you want to cool your mash.
Ingredients for Corn Moonshine
For this recipe you will need:
8.5 lbs of flaked maize (crushed corn)
2 lbs of crushed malted barley (must be malted!)
6.5 gallons of water
1 package of bread yeast
Cooking your Mash
- Place your water in your large pot and heat to 165°F. Once you have reached 165°F turn off the heat.
- Pour your corn into the pot and stir for about five minutes. After five minutes stir intermittently about every 10 seconds for an additional five minutes.
- You will notice that the mash will take on a gel like texture. This is normal and occurs because the corn is being broken down and the starch is being released. Your mixture will be quite thick, however, it will thin out once the barley is added.
- Continue to monitor the temperature of the mash with your cooking thermometer. Once the temperature has dropped to 152°F you are able to add in your malted barley. Again, the barley must be malted for this recipe to work.
- Once you add the barley, stir for one to two minutes, then put the lid on the pot and let the mixture rest for 90 minutes.
- While the mash is resting, prepare your yeast starter. This is the same starter that you make when preparing fresh bread. It simply gives your yeast a ‘head start’. To make the starter simply put one ½ cup of 110°F water in a small glass cup, add two packages of bread yeast and one tsp of sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel to keep warm.
- After 90 minutes your mash is done resting and needs to be cooled before you add the yeast. You have the option at this time to use an immersion chiller, place your pot of mash in a sink full of ice water, or simply wait a few hours until your mash has reached 70°F.
- Once your mash has reached 70°F you can strain out the solids using your cheesecloth. Feel free to squeeze all the liquids out using sanitized hands. Pour the liquid into your sanitization vessel and add the yeast starter. If you are using an all in one kit, have a second sanitized bucket or pot nearby to help with this process. Once you have added the yeast you need to aerate your mash. You can do this by either pouring it between two buckets or your bucket and pot about ten times or pick up your fermentation vessel with the lid securely fastened and give it a good shake.
- Once your mash is aerated you can put your airlock in place and wait between one to three weeks for your mash to ferment.
- For tips on how to tell when fermentation is finished and a complete guide to distill your mash using any of our stills check out our complete guide to making moonshine here.