The best time to harvest honey is from July through September, so now is a great time to find loads of local honey for making your own honey moonshine! This recipe makes a medium-flavor mead using 1 gallon of honey, but you can increase that to 1.25 – 1.5 gallons of honey if you want something sweeter. I’ve tried to make these directions as detailed as possible so newbies can follow along as well. Seasoned distillers are free to make adjustments to this moonshine recipe as they see fit.
- 1 Package of High Spirits Vodka Yeast (you could also use High Spirits Rum Turbo Yeast, but the Vodka Yeast is optimal for this recipe)
- 1 Gallon Honey
- 5 Gallons Water
- Heat 2.5 gallons of water to 120° F.
- Add 1 gallon of honey to 120° F water and stir this “honey water” until completely dissolved.
- Heat (or cool) your other 2.5 gallons of water so that it reaches 70° F.
- Mix your honey water with the 70° F water (making final temperature of the full mash around 95° F).
- Once the mash below 95° F, add entire package of yeast while stirring vigorously to aerate.
- Add fermenter lid and air lock.
- Let ferment for 5 – 7 days at a consistent temperature of between 73° F and 95° F.
- After fermentation is complete, let settle for 5 to 7 days, or you could add a clearing agent.
- Transfer the mash into an appropriately-sized moonshine still with a siphon. Note that you should only ever distill between 40% and 80% of your kettle’s capacity. If you have a large still, you can always add some extra water to your mash because that will stay behind in the kettle after you distill.
- You’ll distill your honey moonshine using a traditional pot distillation method.
- First, heat up your still. You don’t really want to use an internal heating element (like the Still Heater) for this recipe because you don’t want to scorch the mash. If you’re using electric heat, I recommend using something like our 1500W band heater.
- Start running your cooling water to the condenser before any vapor is produced.
- Once the vapor starts, the temperature will spike, and you’ll start collecting your foreshots. You’ll want to collect about 5 – 6 oz of foreshots and until the temperature has risen to above 175° F. Discard the foreshots.
- Using a new collection container, start collecting the heads. Collect until the temperature rises to around 195° F/196° F. If you’re doing alcoholmeter readings, you want the heads to be over 80% abv (160 proof).
- Start collecting your hearts. Keep going until the temperature is around 202° F and/or you’re below 65%abv (130 proof).
- Finally, collect the tails until the temperature reaches about 207° F /208° F.
- Turn off your heat source, but keep the cooling water running until you’re sure there’s no more vapor in the still.
Blending and Aging
- Blend your heads and tails with your hearts based on flavor and aroma.
- Age your honey moonshine with light to medium toasted oak chips or in a toasted oak barrel for 2 to 3 weeks for optimum flavor. For the oak chips, start with about a quarter cup of oak chips and taste the product every week, adjusting the quantity of oak chips (and aging time) as desired.