Moonshine and Stills
Moonshine and stills go together as it is the still which makes the moonshine. Moonshine which was originally made by Scottish and Irish settlers in an attempt to emulate the whiskeys they had drank at home, soon grew in popularity so much that it has become a part of American history. The moonshine was made by fermenting grain, usually corn and then distilling it. Fermentation is also used in the making of beer, in which grain is also use and also wine but in the case of wine, it isn’t grain that is fermented, it is fruit. For moonshine, corn is ground and mixed with water to form what has become known as a mash. Fermentation is a chemical process that occurs when yeast is added to the mash and is a reaction that changes any sugars in the mash, to turn into alcohol. A batch of mash can produce more alcohol if extra sugar is added to it and some makers of moonshine would also add malt to the mash, enabling any starch to also be turned into sugar and thereby once again, creating more alcohol. It is at this point, after fermentation, when moonshine distinguishes itself from both beer and wine as moonshine is the only one of the three to then be distilled. Distillation means extracting the alcohol from the mash and is made possible because of alcohol’s low boiling point. As alcohol boils to form gas at a temperature of only 173°F, whilst water turns to gas at 212°F, if the mash is heated to a temperature range between 173° and 212°, all the vapours given off will be of alcohol and it is these vapours which are directed into a container which, when cooled, will hold the newly made moonshine. As this process is relatively easy, when a high tax was placed on alcohol to try and assist in paying for the costly civil war, moonshine became the drink of choice for many. As during the period of high taxation on alcohol, many people had come to enjoy the taste of moonshine, when prohibition was introduced, many people continued to drink their moonshine and it is from those years of prohibition that stills and moonshine will be present in any books of American history.
If you already own a still, you will be in possession of a piece of genuine American history however, if you don’t already have one and would like one, websites like www.moonshinestills.net/moonshine still have stills that you can buy. The stills which are for sale online are usually made of 100% copper which was thought to be the best metal to make a still from. Federal law will allow you buy a still but other federal laws, prohibit you from making moonshine with the still you my own. If you’re interested in buying one of these stills, it is probably best to check local laws to see if stills are allowed as sometimes state laws may be different from federal when it comes to moonshine and stills.