Moonshine is the term for alcohol that is made and distilled at home, and is also referred to as "Ruckus Juice." The name derives from alcohol that was made illegally during Prohibition. It is illegal in the United States to distil alcohol in your home for personal or commercial use without obtaining an alcohol license and paying taxes. However, home brewing is perfectly legal because it only involves fermentation, the process in which the alcohol is produced. When the alcohol is concentrated after being fermented, it's called moonshine due to the extremely high volume of alcohol. Be sure to follow the federal laws set up by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau before creating your own moonshine (see Resources below).
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Corn meal
- Pressure cooker
- Plastic tube
- Mason jar
Pour equal amounts of corn meal, water, sugar and malt into a homemade still. For a small batch, try using two cups of each ingredient. Then add a half cup of yeast to the mixture. Also, a pressure cooker can be used as your still.
Allow the mixture to ferment in the pressure cooker for three days. Keep the mixture in a warm and dry place. After this fermentation process, the mixture becomes "mash" (see References below).
Heat the fermented mixture in the pressure cooker at 79.4 degrees C, and the mixture should start to appear as a more clear liquid (see References). Don't create too much pressure for too long as the goal is to slightly vaporise the mixture.
Insert a plastic tube into the top of the pressure cooker with the other end inserted into a container, such as a jug or mason jar. This will start the process of distillation and concentrating the alcohol. Allow for enough time for the vaporisation to transfer into the separate container. The condensation that appears in the container is your moonshine.
Unhook your tube once the bottle is full and the distillation is complete. You will then have your own bottle of moonshine. Store the moonshine in a warm and dry place. The leftover mixture in the pressure cooker can be reused again by adding more sugar, water, corn meal and malt (see References below).
Tips and warnings
- According to the alcohol tax and trade bureau, "You cannot produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant." You can own a still, but you must make sure its capacity is no larger than one gallon, and you must pay taxes for owning and using the still. You must also have an alcohol license, which can be obtained from your local courthouse.
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