Moonshine, also known as mountain dew or white whiskey, are high-proof distilled spirits. Its name is derived from “moonrakers” referring to early English smugglers who did things “by the light of the moon”. While moonshine appears to still be illegal in most areas, building a moonshine still will help you make your own distilled alcohol. Before making one, be reminded that there are dangers in home brewed spirits. Methanol remaining in your drink if process is not done properly.
Creating your distilled spirit involves a two stage process: fermentation and distillation. Fermentation metabolizes sugars into alcohol while distillation separates alcohol from everything else.
You can create a simple and basic still that you can use at home. Find a stove top pressure cooker which you can purchase at your local store. A pressure cooker is better than your average cooking pot as it has a good seal with its rubber ring inside. To convert your pressure cooker into a still, put a fitting in the bigger hole in its cover. You can purchase your fitting in any hardware store just make sure it fits the hole. This hole will connect your pressure cooker with your condenser.
The second apparatus needed for your still is a coil. It will stand as your condenser. Find a tubing that will perfectly match the fitting in the cooker. The best one will be made of stainless steel to avoid any future contamination. Avoid copper tubes as it is more prone to corrosion and can require a lot of cleaning. Place your coil in a plastic container or canister where the other end of the tubing is positioned like a faucet or funnel. To do this, cut a hole in the lower side and seal the exiting tube at the bottom. Make sure you the seal is completely dry before you use it. Check if the alcohol will flow smoothly in your coil. Avoid any bumps or build-up. Place your mechanism in an elevated position compared to your pressure cooker to match the fittings. Screw your tube end to the fitting to have a perfectly sealed unit.
You can construct another pot to include in your distillation process. The second pot will hold cold water before moving the alcohol to your coiled copper piping. You can also add a charcoal filter above your receiving jug.
Clean your still before using by pouring white vinegar and placing it on a stove to heat. Have the vinegar work through your apparatus to remove any possible contaminants. Place a cup under your coil faucet. Do not touch any part of the coil as it can be extremely hot.
You can also build your own still with sheet metal fabric but this will require experience in molding and assembling.
Once you have your moonshine still ready, fill your condenser with ice and water. Attach the tube to your pressure cooker. Pour your moonshine wash in the cooker and turn on the heat. Remember that alcohol boils at lower temperature than water. You can check the appropriate temperature for your mash. The alcohol in your mash will rise to the surface when at te right temperature. The alcohol vapor will pass through the cold tubing and condense it to what will be released as moonshine. The charcoal filter will help remove any impurities from your moonshine including dirts, hair, foreign objects, or bugs. That will be the time for you to drink up!
Remember to check the rules and regulations about your still in your local government to avoid any charges. It is also not recommended that you do any distilling indoors. But other than that, enjoy your moonshine!