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Author Post
Sun May 10 2009, 10:08PM
Remember..... cleanliness is next to Godliness

Around here..... moonshineing is considered an art. Most good whiskey makers conceder themselves as moonshiners or whiskey men..... they look down on what's called a bootlegger. A bootlegger is in it more for the money. That's where you'll find the bad whiskey. They make it as cheap as they can using bad stills..... or what's called a black pot still. Around here a five to ten thousand gallon black pot still operation use to be common. They've cleaned most of that type operations out.

A good still is only made out of stainless steel or copper. There is no other metal used.

There is an old saying that you can make a still out of galvanized steel and use it once. That's because you'll be dead before ya ever get to use it again.

They'll show pictures of stills with old steel barrels sitting around to make ya think it's made dirty but that ain't the way it actually works.

If you use a good copper or stainless steel pot with a good worm then the mash..... whiskey never touches anything metal. It's on the inside of the worm. The out side of the worm is coiled around and stuck down into a barrel full of water just to cool the worm.

You boil the alcohol and it turns into a vapor and starts down the worm. As it cools it turns back into a liquid.... Moonshine

You'll hear stories about people running the whiskey through old radiators.... but that ain't true. What they do is run the cooling water for the worm barrel through radiators to keep the water cool.... not the whiskey.
You get to running a still and the worm gets as hot as hell. You can have it coiled up in a 55 gallon barrel and it don't take long before the water in the barrel will be to hot to cool the worm.. then your loosing whiskey. Nothing but vapor coming out the worm. Ya got to keep running cold water through the barrel to keep the worm cool. That's why all the old stills were built near a creek or spring.

They also tell you that they find mash barrels with dead animals floating in it. That could happen but a good whiskey man never ferments in an open barrel. You have a lid on it to help it ferment.
This sounds bad but even if you did have something bad in your mash...... when you run it off.... it sterilizes it. Alcohol kills germs.... that's why doctors use it

The problem is using bad equipment and not making sure everything is clean. It's even better to use good clean mason jars that's been run through a dishwasher than to use the plastic milk jugs.

Another thing..... today a lot of people use propane which isn't to bad.... to heat the still. I was given a jug of shine one time that was cooked over a kerosene burner. The whiskey took up that kerosene and you could taste it in the whiskey. I couldn't drink that garbage. I poured it in the gas tank of my van

There are old saying that you can burn a sample of the whiskey to test it and several other ways to make sure it's good but I really don't know about that???? Knowing who made it and trusting them is the best way. Knowing they drink their own stuff

If a fellow wanted to..... he can buy just about everything he needs to build a good still at the local hardware. Buy most of his supplies at one of those wine shops. Like food quality five gallon buckets and plastic hose and brewers yeast.... They usually figure out what your doing but they don't care Your just carrying wine making one more step.

In the old days...... especially during prohibition..... they didn't have plastic milk jugs and glass was to easy to break during transportation. They would use tin cans that held a few gallons. Much like a gas can today. The lead used to make the cans would poison the whiskey and many people got sick and even died because of it.

When hooking up the worm to the still you don't use anything but brass fittings, You never solder the joints. If you do have a leak that's letting vapor escape....... they call that the angles share you mix a little corn meal with water to make a past and dab it on the leak. It will set up like concert and seal the leak.

Depending on the size of your pot....... you can get a few five gallon buckets (food quality) with lids. Put a small hole in the lid and attach about 1/8 or 1/4 inch plastic hose. Put a 5 pound sack of sugar in it....... add warm water..... one or two packs of yeast. Put the lid on and stick the other end of the hose in a jar of water. It'll start bubbling in a day or two. When it stops..... it's ready to run off.

That's about the cheapest easiest way to make it.

If you really want something good ~ Run it off until your sure you got about 90% or above alcohol. Then put it back into the plastic buckets..... or barrels if ya got em..... then get ya a couple bushels of peaches. Peal em and pit em. Mash them into a mush and mix it with the whiskey. Let it sit for about a week and then run it off again. Run it slow no more than 180 degrees.
You will loose some of the alcohol % but you should still be above 80% which is 160 proof whiskey But what you end up with is as clear as water.... has a peach aroma and taste. That's true brandy. It'll be so smooth ya don't need a chaser.
It'll be the best whiskey you ever taste and it'll knock ya socks off It's great sipping whiskey. A cold winter night... a fire place.... a good cigar and a book about the war.... your in heaven OH.... and don't for get the old dog laying at ya feet

You'll find where some people put fruit in the whiskey..... that ain't brandy. That's just moonshine with a fruit for flavor. I personally don't care for it.

A few things that are real handy to have and you can get em at those wine making shops is....
a hydrometer to test the mash for alcohol content, another to test the proof of the whiskey and a good brewers thermometer. You should be able to get all three for less than $20 bucks.
Some kind of thermometer that will work on the outside of the still that you can use to make sure your cooking it off at the right temperature is handy also.

You can get as fancy as you want using thumper kegs and different coolers but just sticking to basic's is best at first even if it does mean running it off several times to get the % up where ya want it.

Darn..... all this makes me thirsty
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Mon May 11 2009, 12:51PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 10:46AM
Posts: 3357
So that is how the old timers did it huh???

In case anyone is wondering why I allowed this post to remain, is because it relates to moonshining in history and actually contradicts some of the stiories I have heard about moonshine.


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Mon May 11 2009, 03:39PM
Plus, "Moonshining" is a very importian but missunderstood part of our Southern culture. It is only fitting that we Advance, Preserve & Educate it's roots in Southern Heritage

Also the post was written by a "former" moonshiner & current SCV member from Virginia.

[ Edited Mon May 11 2009, 03:41PM ]
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Tue May 12 2009, 12:01AM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 10:46AM
Posts: 3357
"Also the post was written by a "former" moonshiner & current SCV member from Virginia."

I didn't know that but I considered the historical value of the post and decided it met our criteria for posting on such subjects. As long as we keep these-- ah -- how do you say it--dark (?) subjects in a historical context I have no problem with them.


[ Edited Tue May 12 2009, 12:02AM ]
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