Make the perfect run every time with our distilling calculator
While making moonshine may seem like a fun hobby that yields great results, the truth is, it does take skill and knowledge. After all, making moonshine is similar to executing a science experiment rather than mixing together a few ingredients in the kitchen.
Do I need a Distilling Calculator?
Learning how to moonshine properly and with great results takes time and skill, but for those who want great results with less effort, we have created a cheat sheet.
Learning everything you need to know about moonshine is much easier when someone else does all the heavy lifting for you. Get the perfect run with our distillation calculator.
You can also use the distilling calculator to make sure you purchase the right amount of ingredients.
How Does it Work?
Simply input the volume of your mash to learn the energy necessary, start temp, end temp and the amount of time it will take to reach your ideal temp.
By using the boil time calculator, you can better understand if you have the right heating element, and time to run your mash.
How to Distill Moonshine at Home
Of course, learning how to moonshine takes more than a simple calculator. However, it is important to have all the tools and knowledge possible to make the process as simple as possible.
For this reason, we offer a free How to Make Moonshine Ebook. This handy guide is a simple way to learn how to make moonshine step by step. From making your first mash, fermenting, and doing your first run, it will take you through the entire process.
In addition, the ebook also includes many easy to follow recipes that are perfect for those new to moonshining.
Making Your First Mash
There are a lot of things to consider before you make your first mash. Of course, the first thing to consider is the intended final result. Making a mash from sugar is going to yield quite a different result than making it from grain or fruit.
You also need to consider what kind of investment you want to make in your first run. A gallon of moonshine can vary greatly in cost from recipe to recipe. A simple sugar shine can be made for less than a few dollars a gallon whereas a grain-based or fruit recipe will cost considerably more.
However, with these different recipes also come very different results. A sugar shine will not yield the high ABV that makes moonshine so desirable.
However, a sugar shine is a great substitute for neutral spirits in your favorite cocktails. Sugar shine is especially popular to flavor as a substitute for expensive liqueurs.
A grain-based recipe may require more investment and harder to source ingredients, but it will also yield a high ABV and the signature kick and burn that moonshine is famous for.
You can flavor grain-based recipes but many choose to age moonshine with oak barrels in order to make bourbon.
Fruit-based recipes can also yield a high ABV but also leave a subtle fruit flavor. Their recipes usually require a large amount of fruit and can be considerably labor intensive depending on the type of fruit chosen and how it needs to be prepared.
Time and Temperature
It could be argued that time and temperature play the most important role in making grain-based recipes. The reason for this is very simple. In order for your mash to work properly you need to convert the grain from a starch into fermentable sugar. This takes both time and the right temperature.
This process can seem intimidating. Fortunately, there is a simple way to check to ensure this conversion has taken place. A simple iodine test will easily let you know that this conversion has taken place and you are ready for fermentation.
Fermenting the Right Way
Understanding how fermentation works can help make this process more clear. One of the final steps in making your mash is the addition of yeast. Yeast has to be added at the correct temperature in order to function properly and since its function is essential in converting the fermentable sugar into alcohol, this is a step you want to get right.
Fermentation is essentially when molecules are broken down without requiring oxygen. In moonshine fermentation, one glucose molecule is broken down to two ethanol molecules and three carbon dioxide molecules.
Basically, this is where your mash is turned into ethanol (and water). The act of distillation is where you heat up the ethanol to remove it from the water.
However, without healthy yeast fermentation is not possible. For this reason many moonshiners choose to make a yeast starter to kickstart the process and to better ensure healthy yeast.
Check out: Everything you Need to Know About Yeast
How Do I Know When Fermentation is Complete?
As previously stated, fermentation does not require oxygen. So when fermenting, you want an airtight vessel. However, you need to find a way to let the carbon dioxide escape.
Much like a glass of soda, your moonshine mash will have carbon dioxide bubble up and will need to have somewhere to go. This is why an airlock is so important. It will allow the carbon dioxide to escape but also let you know what is happening inside the fermentation vessel.
An airlock will have a small amount of water which helps keep the bacteria out but still allow carbon dioxide to escape. If your airlock is showing bubbles, it is still fermenting. One the bubbles in the airlock have stopped for about two days, it is time to distill.
Making Your First Run
Running moonshine mash for the first time can feel intimidating. The best way to prepare yourself for distillation is to use your still without wasting any of your precious mash on your first attempt.
One of the most important things to remember when running moonshine is cleanliness. Everything needs to be sanitized. So before and after each run you need to clean your still thoroughly. Before the first run of a new still you should first distill water to make sure to remove any leftover contaminants from the manufacturing process.
This is coincidentally a great way to become familiar with your still. Ideally, you will distill water the first time to remove contaminants and then a second time to make distilled water to use in your first mash recipe!