Fermenting in the Wrong Container – Fermentation is vital to the moonshine-making process. It occurs before distillation. The corn mash is placed in a container and left to ferment for about a week so the sugar or grains turn into alcohol. One of the most common mistakes new moonshiners make is fermenting in an air-tight container.
- 0.1 Should I let my moonshine air out?
- 1 Is air necessary for fermentation?
- 2 Does oxygen stop fermentation?
Should I let my moonshine air out?
Still Spirits Ageing alcohol takes time, but as the old saying goes – good things come to those who wait. Ask any distiller how to age alcohol and you will get a myriad of answers, advice, and suggestions – and they could all be correct because depending on what you are making and what your desired outcome is, your process will change.
- Ageing Dark Spirits from a Pot Still Dark spirits such as whiskey, dark rum, and brandy, are typically oaked at approximately 63% ABV, however, you may oak at a lower ABV if preferred.
- Many home-distillers age their spirit on oak at a rate of 10g of oak per litre of spirit.
- Again, you may increase or decrease the amount of oak used depending on your preference, but it is important to remember that you will usually achieve better results using smaller amounts for a longer period.
The time left on oak will vary depending on the amount of oak used, especially if using a barrel. If you age your spirit in a glass container you will almost instantly see the colour start to come through, though it takes time for all the chemical changes to occur between the alcohol and the oak.
Try leaving the alcohol to age for at least three months (tough, we know!) and then take some out, dilute to drinking ABV and taste it. You may find it’s acceptable to drink, however, try to age it for longer as you will see amazing changes happen at 6 months, 12 months, and even longer. You can even try ageing multiple batches and then try blending portions together to create something entirely new.
Check out our article on to learn more about this. Ageing Neutral Alcohol for Flavouring When most people start home distilling, they usually begin with distilling a neutral alcohol to add flavourings to. While it may not be like a traditional dark spirit that requires a long time ageing on oak, ageing your neutral alcohol can improve its quality.
The easiest thing you can do after distilling your neutral spirit is let it air out for 24 hours or so with just a towel covering it, this will allow some of the more volatile and harsher aromas to evaporate – this is also called the angel’s share. Once you have added the flavouring, you can let it sit for a while, anything from a few days to a week to get the best flavour from your spirit.
This allows the flavouring to properly mix and settle into the alcohol. Depending on the flavouring type, some could benefit from ageing on oak. Rums and whiskies for example can benefit from this. While we strive to lock in the best flavour profiles in our offerings, some people may want more oak of a particular kind, or just want to experiment.
- You can choose to age your neutral on the oak before, or after the flavouring has been added.
- Here you can also experiment with different amounts of oak at different times.
- When it comes to ageing both neutral and dark spirits, it’s important to try different times and methods to find something that works for you.
Through experimentation, we often find great ways to do things so our advice to you is to keep experimenting and also keep track of your different methods through ardent note taking – the last thing you want is to make the best batch you’ve ever made but forget what you did to get it there! : Still Spirits
What does airing out moonshine do?
Should You Air Out Your Moonshine? – If you use an airtight container, you may wonder whether you should open it during fermentation. You can air out your moonshine but it will introduce oxygen to the mixture. The oxygen may affect the way the yeast ferments, which will change the moonshine’s flavor profile.
- Dislodge the airlock on your container.
- Gently open the container to allow air to enter the moonshine mash.
- Stir the moonshine mash to allow air to enter the whole mixture.
- Allow the mash to sit for 30 minutes before resealing the container.
- Reinstall the airlock.
I find it best to air the mash on a cooler day, so that only a minimal amount of mash evaporates. It is also best to air it out 24 to 48 hours before you begin distilling the moonshine.
Should you let spirits breathe?
You might be surprised to discover what happens when it’s allowed to gather its breath. ‘I advocate letting a whisky sit for one minute for every year of its age,’ says Jim McEwan, recently retired master distiller at Bruichladdich. ‘ It’s a bit like wine, it needs to breathe. Give it time to open up.
Does air ruin alcohol?
2. Take Measures to Prevent Oxidation – Unopened spirits can last for years if stored properly, but once opened, they become more prone to oxidation. As mentioned previously, when the ratio of air to liquid increases, the flavors and color of a liquor can change.
So when less than one third of your booze remains in the bottle, your best bet is either to finish it off or simply transfer it to a smaller container. And while we’re here — skip the decanter, Your bourbon might look pretty in crystal, but it’s also likely to oxidize more quickly if kept in this container long term.
Instead, opt for storing your spirits in the original bottle, and maybe saving the decanter display for special occasions.
When should you stop distilling?
#3: Tells you when your run is ending – Water boils at a higher temperature than alcohol, and as alcohol boils off from the pot, there is more water being boiled. So, the longer you run your still and the hotter it gets, the more water there will be boiling into steam at the later stages of your run.
Is air necessary for fermentation?
Anaerobic Respiration is Fermentation – The byproducts of anaerobic respiration depend on which organisms are involved. CO2 is always one byproduct. Alcohol and lactic acids are other possible byproducts, along with the high-energy molecule NADH, Yeast turns sugars into the high-energy NADH and byproducts of alcohol and CO2.
- This is why anaerobic respiration is necessary to make the alcohol in beers, wines, and spirits.
- When fermenting cabbage for sauerkraut, bacteria engage in a different kind of anaerobic respiration than yeast.
- This respiration takes the sugars in the cabbage and turns them into NADH, lactic acid, and CO2.
Lactic acid is what gives fermented foods their sour, acidic taste. While bacteria and yeast don’t need an atmosphere without air to function, it really aids their efforts. An anaerobic environment kills any competing bacteria or fungus that would use the sugars to make stuff other than lactic acid or alcohol.
Can air make you more drunk?
The air pressure at high altitudes is lower than it is at sea level, which causes the body to absorb alcohol faster because oxygen levels are decreased. This means that when you drink at a high altitude, your body processes the alcohol more quickly, therefore making you feel drunker faster.
Does oxygen stop fermentation?
1. Introduction – Alcohol fermentation plays a major role in the production of wines and ciders. It is an anaerobic process, therefore excessive amounts of oxygen can stop the fermentation. Contact with oxygen is usually considered to be a negative factor affecting the final quality of wines and ciders.
Polyphenolic compounds, which are precursors of many compounds responsible for the color, taste, and aroma of wines and ciders, react with oxygen and get degraded, which adversely affects the sensory properties of wines, especially white wines. In the presence of oxygen, polymerization of polyphenolic compounds occurs, which leads to the formation of dark-colored components (from yellow to brown).
The consequence of this process is the darkening of young wines, which is unacceptable for white wines. Exposure of musts for white wine to oxygen has a destructive effect on wine’s aroma, as the compounds responsible for the fresh, fruity aroma of wine are easily oxidized,
Despite the greater buffering capacity of musts from red grape varieties in relation to oxygen, even they can undergo adverse changes upon contact with oxygen. High oxygen concentrations can cause oxidation of polyphenolic compounds and their precipitation in the form of sediment. During ripening, polyphenolic compounds play a huge role in creating color and appropriate taste sensations (fullness and astringency).
Oxidation of polyphenolic compounds reduces their concentration in the final product and, as a consequence, negatively affects its quality, However, it is necessary to stress the need to add small amounts of oxygen to the must before fermentation, as this contributes to the proper cell structure of yeast.
- Yeast cells need oxygen to produce sterols (mainly ergosterols) and unsaturated fatty acids, which play an important role in the fluidity and activity of membrane-associated enzymes that influence ethanol tolerance, fermentative capability, and the viability of yeast,
- In addition, the use of an appropriate dose of oxygen can reduce the formation of sulfur compounds and shorten the fermentation time, which is probably associated with a greater resistance of yeast cells to ethanol,
Oxidation of must also affects the synthesis of volatile compounds by yeasts. Esters (including acetates and ethyl esters), higher alcohols, medium-chain fatty acids, aldehydes, or ketones formed during the fermentation stage are responsible for creating the color and aroma of wines,
Micro-oxygenation accelerates wine maturation and is most often used for wines with a high tannin content. Oxygen can modify the sensory properties of wine (taste, smell, and color), which is primarily due to its strong oxidizing properties. Terpenes, polyphenols, and other compounds that are constituents of wine are susceptible to oxidation reactions, which consequently affects a drink’s composition,
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of micro-oxygenation at various stages of fermentation on oenological parameters, antioxidant activity, total polyphenol content, and profile of volatile cider compounds fermented with various yeast strains.
Does mash need to be airtight?
Fermentation – As you may already know, fermentation occurs before distillation. The mixture of ingredients, known as mash, are placed in an open container with something like a cheesecloth wrapped tightly around the top. This allows air to pass freely through but prevents bugs, dust and dirt from contaminating the mash.
One of the biggest mistakes first-time “shiners” make is trying to ferment mash in an air-tight container. If there’s no way for air to pass through, the yeast won’t be able to properly convert the grains and/or sugars into alcohol. So, how long does fermentation take? There are several different factors which play a role in the fermentation of moonshine; however, a typical batch takes anywhere between 7-14 days, so remain patient and don’t give up hope on your moonshine.
It’s a slow and tedious process that takes time, patience and dedication. You know your batch of moonshine is finished fermenting when there’s no more CO2 coming out of the air lock. During fermentation, CO2 is created, which in turn creates bubbles on the top of your beverage.