Unaged whiskey What Type of Alcohol Is Moonshine? Most experts agree that moonshine is a homemade, unaged whiskey. This may be surprising due to the clear color, but the distilling process and ingredients used are clear signs that it is a whiskey.
What type of liquor is moonshine?
Moonshine: From Woods To Whiskey Throughout its storied past, moonshine has been called many things: shine, white lightning, hooch, fire water, white dog, or bathtub gin. Without regulation, there was no standardization to the methods or monikers of “moonshine”.
Currently, to be called “moonshine”, there are some loose qualifications the spirit must meet. Ultimately, moonshine is grain alcohol at its purest form. Moonshine was originally made in secret during the prohibition era and, to contemporary purists, it’s not considered “moonshine” unless it’s clandestine.
However, most distilleries now legally produce moonshine, regardless of whether they bottle and sell a product labeled as “moonshine.” Whiskey, prior to aging, is moonshine! So, What is Moonshine? Moonshine is defined as a homemade, un-aged whiskey, marked by its clear color, corn base, and high alcohol content (sometimes peaking as high as 190 proof).
Traditionally, it was produced in a homemade still and bottled in a mason jar. For most of its history, moonshine was distilled in secret to avoid taxes and alcohol bans (specifically during the Prohibition Era). The term “moonshiner” was popularized in the 18 th century, where individuals deep in the woods of the Appalachia attempting to avoid being caught by police distilled under the light of the moon.
How it’s Made Moonshine consists of:
Corn Barley Wheat or Rye (optional) Yeast Water
While distillate or moonshine can be made from pretty much any type of grain, it originally was made from barley or rye. Moonshine at its purest form, is whiskey, or bourbon distillate. It is un-aged, high in proof, and clear in color. During the Prohibition Era, if grains were unavailable or too expensive, moonshiners would use white sugar which still gave them that alcohol “kick” they were looking for, but with a sweeter taste to it.
Making moonshine has two main steps: fermentation and distillation. Fermentation is the process of yeast breaking down the sugars in the grains to produce alcohol. Once the fermentation process is complete, the “moonshine mash” (fermented grains and yeast) is sent to the still. As the temperature rises in the still, the steam is forced through the top of the still into the worm box.
The worm box is typically a barrel with cold water flowing through it and a metal coil pipe down the center. Alcohol vapors flow through the coil pipe where they cool and condense back into a liquid. The last part of distillation is the spout or valve that leads from the worm box to a bucket or steel drum.
Typically this would be sent through at least one filter, but potentially more. The “XXX” label, that has been popularized in moonshine imagery, was originally an indication of quality; each “X” represented a time that it had been distilled. Moonshine Today Moonshine has changed quite a bit since the backyard bottlers of Prohibition.
In 1933, U.S. alcohol production became legal, as long as you paid the appropriate taxes and had the correct permits. While this makes moonshine legal, you are still prohibited from distilling some at home. Why is this? Mainly for safety reasons. Distilling is a very precise chemical process that, when done incorrectly, can create a dangerous environment or produce a toxic libation.
Governmental regulations are not just for tax purposes, but to protect the consumer from drinking something that could cause serious health issues. “Unlike other spirits, legally produced moonshine can be made with any source material, at any proof, can have coloring and flavoring added – the works. There are no rules for its classification,” said Colin Blake, director of spirits education,
With such a loose classification of this grain alcohol, many different flavored products can still be considered moonshine! At Jeptha Creed, we offer a high-proof original moonshine highlighting the traditional flavor profile, but made with modern distillation processes.
All of our moonshines start with the same four grains as our flagship bourbon, featuring our heirloom Bloody Butcher Corn. If you’re less interested in this pure un-aged whiskey flavor, we have expanded into the modern spectrum of moonshine with a naturally-flavored lineup. Delicious moonshine flavors like apple pie, blackberry, cinnamon, and lemonade represent our ode to the history with a focus on the future.
Our moonshine is even sold in mason jars as a “hats off” to the non-regulated history it came from. Our line of moonshines are a far cry from the potentially deadly spirits that used to flow from homemade stills. Representing its full integration into the contemporary alcohol industry, moonshine now even has its own holiday! National Moonshine Day is on the first Thursday in June (June 2 nd of 2022).
Is moonshine a whiskey?
Moonshine, Whiskey, and Bourbon: What’s the Difference – Billions of glasses of alcohol are consumed across the planet daily. Despite this, only a percentage of consumers are aware of the various types of alcohol. You may have sampled a bourbon here, a whiskey there, or some good old moonshine in your friend’s barn, but what’s the difference? Whiskey To begin with, whiskey (worded as whisky outside the United States) is a distilled alcohol manufactured from fermented grain mash— mostly corn, barley, wheat, rye, or other grains.
Whiskey is sometimes matured in wooden barrels, which contribute color and taste, and when it’s first distilled, it’s known as white whiskey or moonshine because of its clear tint. The primary distinguishing factor between the various types of alcohol is the type of grain used, production process, and country of origin.
Still, Canadian whiskey is a distinct entity that is sometimes unfairly disparaged due to its status as a blended whisky. Bourbon Bourbon is a kind of whiskey that must be produced in the United States and must meet some basic criteria to be officially labeled, sold, or shipped as bourbon: it must be distilled from at least 51% corn, aged in charred oak barrels, enclosed for aging at no more than 125 proof, and packaged at 80 proof or more.
- The charred barrels are particularly important and significantly impact the spirit’s flavor.
- In 1964, Congress designated bourbon as America’s sole native spirit, and as an American product, it cannot be marketed as “bourbon” if made in another jurisdiction.
- While all whiskey is bourbon, not all bourbon is whiskey.
Bourbon has to be matured in virgin charred oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years to be called “straight bourbon whiskey.” If you compare bourbon to whiskey, you’ll find that bourbon is sweeter. Bourbon is commonly made in Kentucky; Corn, Kentucky’s most prominent crop, has a high sugar concentration, explaining all that bourbon sweetness.
- This makes more sense if you’ve ever eaten corn straight from the cob — it’s delicious, right? Because of its sweetness, bourbon is a fantastic liquor for many cocktails.
- Moonshine Put simply, moonshine is untaxed whiskey – although that’s no longer the case.
- Making moonshine started early in American history when the new US government imposed a tax on whiskey and spirits to help cover the American Revolution’s expenses.
Because of the rich heritage of moonshine recipes, many distillers opt to maintain the moniker ‘moonshine’ even though moonshine is legal and is taxed. Moonshiners in the past didn’t have an absolute definition for what constituted moonshine. Moonshiners across the country employed various ingredients, including corn, rye, and sugar.
Moonshine has a flavor that is more like vodka than a dark-colored whiskey. This is because historically, moonshine is seldom matured, and obtaining and keeping oak barrels for maturing secretly would’ve been extremely difficult. However, because there weren’t any legal criteria, the flavor varied. The majority of moonshine produced in America’s South is created from maize, and owing to commonalities in the distillation process, the majority of southern moonshine is identical to corn whiskey.
You can learn about our Liquors by visiting one of our Locations. Experience Moonshine for Yourself Today Whether mixed or taken neatly, moonshine is highly desirable. Here in Tennessee, we offer several moonshine options, including flavored moonshine.
Is moonshine considered ethanol?
Methanol – A Deadly Byproduct – The fermentation process used to make moonshine produces alcohol in two forms: methanol and ethanol. Ethanol is the drinkable version. Methanol, known as wood alcohol, is a byproduct that’s toxic when large amounts end up in the finished product,
- The distillation process that follows produces concentrated ethanol by boiling the fermented product.
- The problem moonshiners run into is ethanol has a boiling point of 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit while methanol’s boiling point is 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- This means methanol evaporates at a faster rate than ethanol and can become concentrated.
When done correctly, it only forms in small amounts and is easily separated out and discarded. Without the right equipment, high concentrations of methanol can end up in the drink. What makes methanol so dangerous is the human body converts it to formaldehyde, an ingredient used to make embalming fluid.