What makes higher 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 I get higher proof?
Copper Mesh, Raschig Rings, and Glass Beads – Packing a distillation column with copper scrubbers, raschig rings, or glass distilling beads is the easiest way for a commercial distiller to increase the final proof of distilled alcohol. The packing material increases final proof by causing a slight natural reflux action in the column.
Commercial distillers will find that this also makes a better tasting product. If copper packing material is used, it simultaneously removes sulfur compounds from the vapor. As vapor moves up through the column it migrates through a network of material that is a slightly lower temperature than the boiler, etc.
For example copper mesh forms a thermal bridge between the cooler edges of the column and the center of the column (because it’s super conductive). It creates an abundance of surface area that is just slightly below the condensing temperature of water (but ideally above the condensing temp of alcohol), providing opportunity for water vapor to turn back into a liquid while allowing the alcohol vapor to move on.
How do you increase ABV in moonshine?
Alcohol is a byproduct of the fermentation process, which takes place when the yeast converts the sugars derived from the grain. Knowing that, you can increase the alcohol by volume (ABV) by increasing the size of the grain bill or increasing the amount of malt extract used.
Can alcohol be over 100% proof?
7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Alcohol ‘Proof’ System Most people know the basics of how the proof system works with alcohol: proof is, of course, a number that represents double alcohol by volume (ABV) inside the bottle listed. But what you might not know is the history of the proof system or some of its most noteworthy facts.
Here’s all the info you’ll need to talk about the proof system at your next cocktail party like a boozy historian: The history of the proof system is all about gunpowder You have to go all the way back to the old wooden ships of the 18 th century to find the origins of “proof” in alcohol. As the story goes, soldiers in the British Royal Navy would apply rum to their gunpowder to test its strength.
If the weapon still fired, they had “proof” that the rum was strong enough. Also, proof that it would burn the ship down if lit.100 proof is the fire What those old soldiers might have been testing for, had they known it at the time, was bottled alcohol served at 50 percent strength or more.
- Any alcohol listed above 100 proof – 50 percent ABV – is straight up flammable and would therefore not hinder the ability of gunpowder to fire.
- Even though it’s always been about fire, it’s also about taxes (of course) Today, proof is more about labeling alcohol content in liquors for consumer safety and for taxable purposes.
The proof system – that whole double alcohol content rule – was established in 1848, when the government declared (arbitrarily) that any bottle with 50 percent alcohol would be defined as “100 proof” for taxation. The taxes for other alcohols – those more or less than 100 proof – would be taxed accordingly based on their relationship to this proof baseline.
- Elsewhere in the world, no more proof The scale used to be different in the U.K., where “proof” was equal to about 1.821 times the ABV.
- Which made proof numbers different in the U.K than in the U.S., and surely lead to several confused and drunken individuals traveling abroad.
- Today though, proof in the EU, the UK, and Canada have all gone the way of ABV, and as per the usual, the U.S.
stands alone with a strange and arbitrary measurement system (see feet, pounds, et al). Proof isn’t actually required on the label anymore That last bit isn’t actually totally true; yes, the U.S. permits the listing of proof on the label of alcohol, but it doesn’t actually require it.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau actually only requires ABV, but proof is pretty much always listed, because of tradition. You’ll notice, beer and wine don’t use proof “Excuse me, waiter? What proof is this beer; eight or nine?” said no one, ever. While they wouldn’t actually be totally wrong to ask – any alcohol can be talked about in terms of proof – the fact is, beer, wine, and other low-alcohol beverages usually aren’t defined by their proof.
The use of proof in relation to ABV is an honor reserved mostly for liquors above 40 proof in strength.40 proof is the low end of ABV that can still fit the definition for brandy, gin, vodka, rum, and whiskey. Some of the lowest proof liquors? Flavored rum like Malibu (42 proof), flavored vodkas (~ 70 proof) and flavored whiskeys like Fireball (66 proof) are all much weaker than their full-bodied peers, which must be bottled no lower than 80 proof.
On the other hand, you could varnish a table with this Polish vodka Straight up liquor can go as low as 80 proof, before becoming “flavored”. But it can also go as high as 192 proof before becoming “rocket fuel.” The absolute strongest bottle of alcohol you can legally buy and then drink in the United States is Spirytus vodka, the Polish vodka weighs in at 96 percent alcohol (192 proof), stronger by just a bit than Everclear’s 190 proof labeling.
No matter what proof is on your label, always drink responsibly. And do so with the knowledge that while the proof system is totally voluntary at this point, and largely obscure outside of the United States, it’s still something we put on our bottles to remind us that we once tested our hooch with gunpowder like real patriots, taxed our alcohol based on its strength and that we still don’t use the metric system.
What makes ABV higher?
How Is ABV Calculated? – Amy explained that during the fermentation process, the yeast in a beer consumes the sugars present and then converts it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. ABV is measured by comparing the amount of sugar present in the beer at the start of fermentation to how much sugar is remaining at the end of fermentation. In short, yes. Approximately at least. Malts come with a COA, or a certificate of analysis. This is a list of lab-tested information that tells brewers the specifications of the malt, including the “extract potential,” or the amount of sugars in the malt that are fermentable.
When writing a recipe, an experienced brewer can look at the COAs, then use some calculations to determine the amount of each type of malt they want to use to hit their target ABV,” Amy explained. Brewers also use a method called forced fermentation to learn the approximate ABV of the beer before the full batch has completed its fermentation.
Amy told us: “Forced fermentation is where you combine a set amount of pre-fermented liquid with a set amount of dry yeast and leave it room temperature for a couple of days to ferment. This will tell you the final gravity of that beer, and you can calculate approximately what the ABV will be.” Alcohol volume can add a lot to the drinking experience, from mouthfeel to aroma. Alcohol is known to impart a warming mouthfeel – so much so that some high-alcohol beers are described as ‘hot.’ It also adds viscosity and body to beer, which helps contribute to a richer mouthfeel.
And yeast can produce specific aromatics at higher ABVs that they wouldn’t otherwise produce at lower ABVs, which can further differentiate high and low ABV beers. Because alcohol is caloric, typically high ABV beers have a higher calorie content. That’s why most of the low-calorie beers you find will be somewhere in the 4% ABV range.
Other qualities of the beer, such as bitterness, are more dependent on beer style than ABV. If you’re curious about bitterness in beer, we’d recommend reading our blog ? The Alcohol And Tobacco Tax And Trade Bureau (TTB) has an allowable tolerance of +/- 0.3% on either side of the stated ABV on packaging. This means that a label claiming an ABV of 5% can legally fall anywhere between 4.7% and 5.3% ABV.
Why can’t you distill 100 ethanol?
The strongest concentration you can achieve is approximately 96% pure. Distillation separates the alcohol from the water because they have different boiling points, but once you reach about 95.6% purity the solution becomes what is known as an azeotrope.
Can you make 190 proof moonshine?
How to Make Moonshine Without a Still? – Technically, moonshine is a homemade, unaged high proof grain alcohol, typically around 190 proof. The process to make moonshine from scratch, starting with a corn mash to distilling is quite difficult and illegal without a license.
There’s no need to go through this complicated process (with uncertain results) when we can legally buy 190 proof grain alcohol. A high proof alcohol is essentially the base for aged and flavored liquors such as whisky and vodka. To make moonshine easy, we simply start with a high proof, quality base alcohol.
I typically use the brands Everclear, Mohawk or Nikolai and all of these are readily available in liquor stores. The process is essentially the same for most fruit flavored moonshine recipes. You might want to check out our hugely popular Apple Pie Moonshine recipe too.
What is 120 proof moonshine?
In the United States: U.S. law considers alcohol proof to be twice the ABV percentage. So a liquor containing 60 percent alcohol in the U.S. would be 120 proof.