How to Make a Moonshine Mash

How to Make a Moonshine Mash

Making a moonshine mash is the first step to making moonshine. While this usually takes place in a kitchen, it is more science than home economics! Check out our guide on how to make a moonshine mash. 


Making a mash is more comparable to baking than to cooking. While this may sound funny, it is because making a mash does require technical details that need to be followed.

Some of the most important factors when making your mash are volume, temperature and texture.

Advanced Mash Techniques



As you start feeling more comfortable with the basics of making a mash you can start experimenting to discover different ways to customize your moonshine. 

For example, as you become more advanced there are extra steps that can be taken to adjust the PH of your mash, as well as choices in technique.


Some people choose to remove the solids from their wash before fermentation and others do it after. Both techniques will work. It just ends up coming down to your personal preference and how you want to make your shine. 


A Traditional Approach to Moonshine



Another difference is what is actually used to make your mash. Traditionally, many farmers discovered that by fermenting their corn into whiskey they can actually sell it for much more.


Many traditionalists will want to use corn to make their moonshine. However, moonshine cannot be made with only corn, it also needs malted barley or an added enzyme in order to work. 


In addition to corn, moonshine can be made with almost any type of grain. Early pioneers would often use rye or barley. However, corn is the most popular method. 

First time moonshiners can even make a mash from regular granulated sugar. While this mash will not produce the highest quality moonshine, it is a great way to get started with ingredients you have around the house. 





Simple Sugar Wash Recipe 



This simple mash will produce a lesser quality mash that is perfect for first timers learning the art of moonshining.



  • 5 gallons (18.9 litres)  of water 
  • 8 lbs (3.6 kg)  of sugar 
  • Yeast starter

  1. Pour two gallons of water into a large pot and heat to boiling. Do not allow the heat to go above 120°F. Add the sugar a few pounds at a time and let it dissolve. Keep adding sugar until all 8 lbs. are dissolved. 
  2. Once the sugar is dissolved add the wash to a fermentation bucket. 
  3. Add the remaining water. Feel free to use cooler water since we want to cool down the wash. 
  4. Once your wash has cooled down to 70°F you can add the yeast. 
  5. You can add an airtight lid and shake your wash to aerate it for about 60 seconds. 
  6. Add an airlock into your lid and leave in a temperate area for a week to ferment and another week to settle.
  7. Siphon your mash to distill. 


If you want a faster turnaround time check out How to Clear your Moonshine Mash

Once you have conquered this simple sugar shine you are ready to take the next step in moonshining- a corn mash. 

Making a mash from corn is a recipe rooted in tradition. Corn produces a sweet tasting and smooth moonshine that packs quite a punch. 


Corn Moonshine Mash Recipe



This corn mash recipe is the next level in moonshining. Instead of dissolving sugar, this mash will produce a solid grain mass and liquid wash.

When making a traditional mash like this you have the option to remove your grains before fermentation or after fermentation has been achieved.

This will come down to personal preference. However, it is important to know that all grains should be removed before distillation as they will burn in your still. 

Some all-in-one kits come with a built-in strainer. This can be handy to avoid using another straining option, such as cheesecloth. 




  1. Pour water into a large pot and heat to 165°F. 
  2. Once you have reached 165°F turn off the heat and add your corn.
  3. Stir the mash continuously for five minutes and then about once every five minutes until the temperature drops to 152°F.
  4. Once the temperature hits 152°F add the malted barley. 
  5. Cover. Let sit for 90 minutes giving it a good stir every 15 minutes.
  6. After 90 minutes all of your grains should be converted into sugars. 


*You can choose to drain your grains at this point using a cheesecloth or a strainer or you can wait until after fermentation. 

*You can do an iodine test to see if your grains have converted into sugars. 

Check out How to Ferment your Moonshine Mash for more on how to do an iodine test. 


  1. Before you add yeast, your mash needs to be 70°F. Some moonshiners will use equipment like immersion chillers to achieve this quickly, however, you can simply let your mash sit for a few hours to do this the simple way. 
  2. Once your mash has reached 70°F you can add your yeast. Add an airtight lid and aerate your wash by shaking it for 60 seconds. If your lid has a hole for your airlock don’t forget to block it before you shake! 
  3. Add your airlock and let your mash ferment in a temperate area for about a week or two. Let settle for about a week and you are ready to distill. 


How to Make a Moonshine Mash with Fruit


One of the coolest things about making moonshine is the fact that you can make it out of so many things.


One of the reasons that moonshine became so popular with early settlers in the United States was the fact that they could turn something they had an excess of (corn) into something that was worth much more money (whiskey). 


Of course, it is not only grains that can be turned into moonshine. Fruit and vegetables can also be converted with ease. This is a good option for those who have fruit trees on their property. It is also a good opportunity to travel to nearby farms at the end of season to get overripe fruit for a deal (ask if you can pay with moonshine!)


Either way, making mash with fruit is a great way for moonshiners to challenge themselves with something new or for those with access to overripe fruit to turn it into something way more fun than jam or jelly. 


In addition to making mash with fruit, there are also opportunities to make mash with fruit cider. One example is our AppleJack Moonshine. It is one way to make a fruit flavored mash without all the peeling and cutting. 





Do you want to make that summertime feeling of biting into a fresh peach last well into the fall? Turn a  ½ bushel of peaches and some sugar into some sweet moonshine you can enjoy all year long. 

Equipment needed:




  • ½ bushel of peaches (about 25 lbs) 
  • 6 lbs  of cane sugar
  • 2 packets of bread yeast
  1. The first step is to wash your peaches well. You want to make sure to remove any pesticides as well as natural yeasts on the skin. 
  2. Next, quarter your peaches and remove the pit. 
  3. Place in your food processor to chop your peaches into small chunks.
  4. Pour your peaches into your large pot
  5. Heat to 160°F to kill any bacteria or wild yeast. 
  6. Once you have reached 160°F pour your mash into your fermentation bucket. 
  7. Add four lbs. of sugar and stir well with a spoon until fully dissolved.
  8. Add cold water to the mash until the fermenting bucket hits 5.5 gallons. 
  9. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients in the mash. 
  10. Take a gravity reading with your refractometer. Add sugar until your refractometer reads 1.060.
  11. Allow your mash to cool to 70°F. You can use an immersion chiller for this step or simply wait a few hours. 
  12. Once your mash reaches 70°F you can add your yeast and aerate the mash by pouring it from one 5 gallon bucket to the other. 
  13. Place on the airtight lid and airlock. Place your bucket in a temperate area for about 7-14 days. Look for no activity in your airlock for two days. 
  14. Remember to strain your mash before distillation! 


Now that you have learned everything you need to know about making a moonshine mash, you are ready for the next step, fermentation. 

Check out How to Ferment your Moonshine Mash