What percentage of moonshine is foreshots?
Glossary: Foreshots Foreshots are the first vapours to boil off during distillation, usually containing compounds such as acetone, methanol, and aldehyde volatiles. Distillers always discard the foreshots and never allow them to be part of the final product.
- Depending on the base material used to make the spirit and the apparatus used, foreshots can be 2% to 5% of the overall volume collected.
- We always consider foreshots and “heads” as separate parts of the early spirit collection, as for spirits like Gin (or others who are redistilling Neutral Spirit) foreshots are likely to contain the dregs of the previous run left in the tubes.
They may also contain some harmful compounds and are always discarded, while the heads are perfectly potable spirit, but simply an undesirable flavour for their recipe. As the risk of collecting nasty compounds is low when redistilling a pure Neutral Spirit, for gin makers, foreshots are often just 0.1 – 0.2% of the total run, while the heads can be a further 1-3% depending on the recipe.
- In this case heads are collected separately, added to tails and sometimes used to make other products.
- Many distillers who are starting from a wash (i.e.
- Not rectifiers transforming previously distilled Neutral Spirit) such as Scotch Whisky makers and Moonshiners, do not make that distinction and simply separate the distillate as foreshots, hearts and feints.
: Glossary: Foreshots
What percentage of a run is heads?
The Heads – As the temperature continues to increase, ethanol will boil, and you will be distilling real spirits. But, while the temperature in the still’s pot is climbing through the range of about 175 degrees Fahrenheit to about 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the distillate will still contain many traces of non-ethanol chemicals that can make your final product have a bit more “bite” and flavor if they are added to it.
For a product like whiskey or Scotch, this might be ideal, because the complexity of those alcohols comes from the combination of trace chemicals. However, for a product like moonshine or vodka, which are ideally flavorless, trace chemicals alter and affect the taste of your product negatively. The second cut you will make in your run will be around the 185 – 190 degree temperature range.
The distillate collected after the foreshots and before the second cut is called the “heads” of the run. Set the heads aside for further distillation, or to combine the right amount with your final distillate to flavor the alcohol the way you like. The heads should total about 20-30%% of the final amount of your run.
What is 100 proof moonshine?
It is common knowledge that moonshine is a strong type of alcohol. But what proof is moonshine, and why should you care? As moonshine distillers, we at Tennessee Shine Co. take proofing moonshine very seriously. We understand how important it is to know how much alcohol you are consuming so you can safely enjoy your drinks.
- This article will tell you everything you need to know about proof moonshine and how to ensure you are getting the best quality moonshine available.
- Moonshine Alcohol Percentage (AKA, Moonshine Proof) In terms of alcohol content, the word “proof” means alcohol percentage.
- The more alcohol in a beverage, the stronger the drink and the higher the proof.
Before getting to the question of what proof is moonshine, though, let’s talk a little more about where the concept of proof came from in the first place. Why do we call it “proof?” Here is a fun story about why we use the word “proof” to mean moonshine alcohol content.
- It goes back to Renaissance England, around the 16th century.
- Back then, drinks that contained alcohol were taxed based on how much alcohol was in them.
- Unfortunately, they didn’t have the fancy equipment we have today to measure alcohol content accurately, so they resorted to the next best thing – setting the drinks on fire.
Yep, you read that right. Tax collectors in England would try lighting beverages on fire to see if they really were alcoholic. If the drink caught on fire, that was “proof” that it contained liquor. It was considered “under-proof” and taxed differently if it didn’t.
The trial-by-fire method of measuring alcohol percentage was abandoned about 100 years later. In the 17th century, the government started using more scientific methods to determine whether or not a drink contained alcohol. They tested the density of the drink and compared it with the density of water to figure out what the alcohol content was.
If the drink had 12/13 of the gravity of water at the same temperature, it was considered 100 proof, equivalent to 57.15% ABV by today’s standards (which is a pretty strong drink). The U.S. developed its own method of testing proof in the 1840s by measuring the percentage of alcohol in a drink.
For example, if a drink was 50% alcohol by volume, it was determined to be 100 proof. What determines moonshine proof? While moonshine is generally considered to be a type of whiskey, moonshine taste and proof can vary from one batch to another for a few reasons. The first is the ingredients used to make the moonshine.
In general, moonshine can be made from grain or fruit. That is why there are so many different flavors and combinations available! The ingredients used to make moonshine will significantly affect the taste. So, make sure you are drinking moonshine made from stuff you like – you will be able to taste it.
- Moonshine proof is determined by the alcohol content or concentration in the final product, typically measured using a hydrometer, which measures the specific gravity of the liquid.
- The higher the alcohol content, the higher the proof and the more the liquid will deviate from the specific gravity of water.
The most common measurement used to determine the proof of alcohol is the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage, which is usually expressed as a number on a scale that ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being 100% alcohol. Image Source: Brent Hofacker /Shutterstock Is moonshine 100% alcohol? No. That would be insane, and we don’t recommend trying to drink anything that is 100% alcohol. It is unsafe for consumption and could lead to serious health issues. If someone is bragging that they made 100% alcohol moonshine, knock the bottle out of their hands and into the trash.
What is moonshine made from? As we said earlier, moonshine can be made from nearly any grain or fruit. However, some work better than others. Our favorite moonshine ingredients include strawberries, cherries, peaches, blackberries, and apples, Can You Buy Moonshine? Absolutely! We highly recommend buying moonshine from a qualified distiller (like us!) to make sure your moonshine has been distilled the right way.
Time to Have a Moonshine Adventure Ready to get your hands on some delicious, professionally distilled moonshine? Then come down to Tennessee Shine Co. to try all our tasty flavors. If you can’t see us all the way, you can find our products at several outlets nationwide.
How do moonshiners know when the heads are done?
Page 6 – Distillation is used for numerous applications, including the distillation of essential oils and spirits. Our Copper Alembics are perfectly suitable for these applications nevertheless certain should be taken to avoid personal injury as a result of negligence or the continuous consumption of poor results.
- Distillation is a basic chemical science which involves the separation of a chemical substance into its different components based on difference in the boiling point of each fraction.
- This is done by heating a mixture in an alembic pot so the fractions that make up the mixture begin to evaporate, these are conducted via a connecting arm or swan neck into a condenser where they are chilled and revert to their liquid state.
Ethanol alcohol evaporates at 78.3ºC at sea level and water at 100ºC but a mixture of the two components will evaporate between 78.3ºC and 100ºC depending on the ratio of ethanol alcohol and water. The more volatile components or those fractions with a lower boiling point will tend to evaporate first so the resultant vapours will be more enriched with those components with a lower boiling point.
A fermented batch may be composed of ethanol, other higher alcohols such as methanol also acetone, various esters, water and furfurals. The more volatile components such as acetone, methanol and the various esters are undesirable; methanol for instance has been known to cause blindness. It is common practice to throw away the first portion of the distillate, this way you will get rid of the methanol.
Separate and discard the first 50ml If distilling a 25 L wash or mash in a reflux still or 100ml per 20L wash from the rest of the distillate if using a traditional alembic, these fractions are known as foreshots or heads and are distilled first. The result of any distillation is divided into three separate parts in the following order: heads, hearts and tails.
The best and desired portion of the distillation is obtained from the hearts. Cut off points have to be determined between heads, hearts and tails, the art lies in when to start collecting the hearts and when to stop. Experienced distillers use their senses to determine cut off points, they monitor the taste and smell of the heads, these usually have a very sharp taste and are foul smelling.
The hearts portion of the distillate (the ethanol) should be totally transparent and odourless. The tails contain a large amount of compounds with higher boiling points, such as the higher alcohols and furfural. These compounds can spoil the taste of the spirit if the collection is carried on too long.
The cut off point for the tails can be identified by the taste, smell and milky cloudiness of the distillate. This is done by collecting a few drops on the back of a spoon every so often and checking what it tastes or looks like on a regular basis. The tails are usually saved to include in the next batch as a considerable amount of ethanol alcohol can still be recovered.
Cut off points may also be established based on temperature (see our ) or readings. Temperature readings may not determine the cut off point with the greatest accuracy though they may be helpful in determining the end of a complete distillation run. For instance when the vapour temperature nears 98° C most of the alcohol has already been distilled and it becomes unnecessary to continue the distillation process.
- The percentage at which to do the cut may depend on the flavour profile you may want to obtain and the kind of wash distilled.
- As a rule for fruit mashes the cut off point for tails may be 25% alcohol and for grain washes 18%, this is not a hard and fast rule and the distiller has to toggle with these values to obtain the desired flavour profile.
Most distillates are double distilled to further purify the distillation results and raise the alcohol percentage. A second distillation may also concentrate the flavour further. The cut off point for a second distillation in a fruit mash may be as low as 60%.
What percentage of moonshine is hearts?
Hearts – This is the sweet spot. Hearts, also known as your Middle Run, start at around 80% abv (160 proof) before falling to 60-65% abv, or even 40% abv if you prefer. Hearts give you that clean taste you’re looking for. You’ll start collecting hearts at a vapor temperature of around 196°F (91°C) and finish at around 203°F (95°C).