Spring Clean Your Moonshine Still

Spring Clean Your Moonshine Still

Contamination is the easiest way to ruin a perfectly good batch of moonshine. Keep your shine tasting great with our guide on how to clean your moonshine still. 


Making moonshine is more than just buying the right equipment, moonshine still and grain, How you maintain that equipment is arguably just as important. 

Keeping your moonshine still clean is just as crucial as proper fermentation and distillation techniques.


A well-maintained still not only ensures the quality and purity of your final product but also extends the lifespan of your equipment.


This comprehensive guide dives deep into the world of moonshine still cleaning, arming you with the knowledge and techniques to keep your still sparkling and your spirits top-notch.


Why Cleaning Matters




Beyond aesthetics, cleaning your moonshine still after each use is essential for several reasons:


  • Purity: Residues from previous distillations can linger in your still, potentially affecting the taste and quality of your next batch. Imagine a hint of sour mash in your perfectly fermented fruit spirit – not ideal! Cleaning removes these residues, ensuring a pure and consistent final product.


  • Safety: Build-up can clog condenser coils and other vital components, hindering their functionality. This can lead to overheating, pressure build-up, and even potential safety hazards. Regular cleaning prevents such issues, ensuring a safe and smooth distilling experience.


  • Efficiency: A clean still operates at peak efficiency. Residues can create a barrier to heat transfer, increasing distillation times and wasting energy. Regular cleaning ensures optimal heat transfer, making your distilling process more efficient.


  • Durability: A clean still is a happy still. By removing corrosive elements and preventing rust build-up, you significantly extend the lifespan of your equipment. Think of it as an investment in future batches of delicious moonshine.

Understanding Your Still




The cleaning process will vary slightly depending on the type of moonshine still you own. Here's a breakdown of the most common types and cleaning considerations:


How to Clean the Magnum


Pot Stills: These workhorses of the moonshine world are relatively simple. Cleaning focuses on the boiler pot, condenser coil, and liebig condenser (if present).


How to Clean The Standard



Column Stills: These more complex stills offer greater control over distillate purity. Cleaning involves the boiler, condenser, column sections, and plates (if applicable).


How to Clean The Moonshine Cherry 


Stainless Steel Stills: These are generally low-maintenance and clean easily with standard cleaning solutions.


Copper Stills: Copper reacts with alcohol, creating a desirable taste profile. However, proper cleaning is crucial to prevent verdigris (a blue-green patina) from forming, which can be harmful if ingested.

Gathering Your Cleaning Arsenal




Before diving in, ensure you have the necessary tools and cleaning solutions:

  • Cleaning Brushes: Different sized brushes for reaching nooks and crannies.
  • Soft Sponges: For gently scrubbing delicate surfaces.
  • Microfiber Cloths: For polishing and drying.
  • Baking Soda: A natural cleaning agent for removing residue.
  • White Vinegar: A mild acid that works wonders on mineral deposits and light rust.
  • Lemons: The citric acid in lemons can help cut through grime.
  • Soap (Optional): For heavily soiled stills, a mild dish soap diluted with water can be used.

The Cleaning Process: A Step-by-Step Guide





Here's a general cleaning procedure applicable to most moonshine stills. Remember, always consult your still's specific cleaning instructions for any deviations.

1. Cool Down: Always allow your still to cool completely before cleaning. Never attempt to disassemble hot components, as this can cause warping and damage.

2. Disassemble Carefully: Disassemble the still as much as possible, taking note of the order in which parts were connected. This allows access to each component for thorough cleaning.

3. Tackle the Boiler: Fill the boiler with hot water and baking soda solution. Let it soak for 30 minutes to loosen any residue. Use brushes and sponges to scrub thoroughly, focusing on areas with baked-on material. Rinse the boiler with clean water until all traces of cleaning solution are gone.

4. Conquer the Condenser: This is where mineral deposits and residue often build up. For liebig condensers, fill the inner coil with vinegar or a lemon juice solution. Let it soak for 30 minutes, then flush with hot water. For other types of condensers, consult your still's manual for specific cleaning recommendations.

5. Clean the Column (if applicable): Dissolve baking soda in hot water and fill the column sections. Let them soak for 30 minutes. Use brushes to gently scrub and remove any residue. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

6. Polish and Dry: Once all components are clean, use a soft sponge and mild dish soap solution (if needed) for a final cleaning