Rick recommends that every new distiller’s first recipe should be a sugar wash because there’s low risk for error. Once you get a handle on the basics of reflux distillation, you can try other recipes that require reflux, like this Cranberry Moonshine. After that, you can start experimenting with pot distillation and try this No-Cook Mash Moonshine Recipe or Honey Moonshine Recipe.
- 1 package of turbo yeast such as High Spirits Turbo 48 Turbo Yeast or Prestige Turbo Pure 48
- 14 lbs white granulated sugar
- 6 gallons water (filtered and/or dechlorinated)
- A clearing agent like Sparkolloid
- Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil; then transfer to fermenter.
- Dissolve sugar, adding more hot water if necessary.
- Add cool water and/or ice until you’re at a volume of about 6.6 gallons, cooling the “sugar water” mixture so that it reaches 100° F.
- Take a hydrometer reading to find out your specific gravity (and write it down!).
- Add entire package of turbo yeast while stirring vigorously to dissolve yeast and aerate.
- Add fermenter lid and air lock.
- Ferment for 2 – 7 days at a consistent temperature per the instructions on your package of yeast.
- After fermentation is complete, de-gas the mash before adding your clearing agent. Vigorously stir/agitate the wash until the foam subsides. Then stop and do it again. Repeat this process several times.
- Next, add a clearing agent per package directions. For example, Sparkolloid requires you to use 1 tsp per gallon. Add Sparkolloid to 2 cups of boiling water and allow to boil for 3-5 minutes or until dissolved. Then gently stir the mixture to your wash, which should clear within 24 hours.
- Transfer the mash to your moonshine still with a siphon.
- You’ll distill your moonshine using reflux distillation. The instructions below are a general guide based on using an Essential Extractor Pro Series II Complete Moonshine Still.
- Pack your stainless steel moonshine still with copper mesh as needed. (Depending on your still, you may not need copper mesh and may choose a different types of column packing.)
- Then heat up your still. We generally recommend using electric heat over gas for safety reasons, but make sure that you use an electric element that does not cycle.
- Be sure to run your cooling water to the condenser and dephlegmator before any vapor is produced.
- Remove and discard your foreshots (around 3 ounces).
- The temperature should be at about 173° F at this point. However, the exact temperature may vary, depending your your thermometer's calibration and your elevation, but the most important thing is that the temperature remains consistent. Then you can start collecting your distillate.
- You’ll know when you’re moving into the tails when the temperature starts to increase after a long time. The flow of distillate from the condenser will also slow down.
- Finally, turn off your heat, but keep the cooling water circulating until you’re sure there’s absolutely no more vapor left in the column. As soon as the temperature starts to fall, remove the bung to allow for airflow so the bung will not accidentally be sucked inside of the column if there is a blockage somewhere.
- Blend and/or cut your product to taste.