How To Make Moonshine: Distilling
Great job! You’ve completed the heavy lifting of producing mash water for your moonshine! Now it’s time to distill and separate all of that alcohol content into a purified form. Like making mash, distilling is as much an art as it is a science.
The best way to become a good distiller is to practice. We recommend taking notes throughout the process so you can become better with each run. If you’re in need of equipment or supplies we’ve got you covered.
We carry everything from the traditional copper still, to stainless reflux units, to the new Grainfather Brewing System. We also carry quality supplies from high quality grains to a replacement carbon filter.
Prepping Your Still
Keeping up on prep-work for your still is mission critical. Even if you cleaned your still after your last run and let it sit for a while, it is still recommended to clean it before transferring your mash water. This is especially the case on copper stills that are showing a salt buildup.
If you add packing to your column, this is the time. Pack your column with the amount of copper packing that is appropriate for your setup.
If your setup has a condenser, hook up your water input and output.
Finally, it’s time to add your mash water to the still. Again, you can use a cheesecloth or auto-siphon to transfer the mash water into your still without including solid material.
The name of the game here is reducing the sediment in your mash water to as close to zero as possible.
Running Your Still
Now for the fun part! Distillation is an incredible process. If you’re not familiar with the science, here’s the quick and dirty. Distillation is the process of separating different chemicals by taking advantage of different evaporation temperatures between the chemicals.
This process is not creating alcohol, it is separating it from all of the other substances in your mash water. You created all of the alcohol during fermentation (well, the yeast did).
Slowly bring your temperature up to 150 °F. Once you reach 150 °F, if your setup has a condenser turn on the condensing water.
Next, dial up your heat source to high until your still starts producing. Time your drips as they speed up until you reach 3 to 5 drips per second. Once you reach this rate, dial down your heat to maintain it (usually the “medium” setting).