Did you know that the term “Moonshine” was actually developed by British Settlers to describe various tasks that had to be completed at night. Though once strictly illegal in the United State, moonshine making kits have been taking the country by storm. If you are thinking about branching out to making your own spirits at home, here are a few facts you need to know about buying moonshine stills, moonshine making kits, and home whiskey kits.
The process of making moonshine became popular in the United States shortly after the revolution, when the United States began to heavily tax beer and liquor. This led to poorly produced moonshine which could often be contaminated, mainly from materials used in construction of the still. Since stills employing used automotive radiators as condensers, though not in the earliest days, they could be particularly dangerous. In some cases, glycol, products from antifreeze, could appear as well. Some of the less appetizing results of early home moonshine kits gave way to Prohibition style cocktails. The complicated ingredients were used to mask the poor take of the sub par alcohol. This is becoming much less of a problem these days with the availability of high quality moonshine making kits.
Prohibition is not only responsible for the creation of compliacted classic cocktails. NASCAR also began as the result of illegal whiskey distilling equipment. In fact, in the early days of its creation, Moonshiners used to use high powered vehicles to out run the police on their moonshine runs.
Although methanol is not produced in toxic amounts by fermentation of sugars from grain starches, contamination is still possible by unscrupulous distillers using cheap methanol to increase the apparent strength of the product. Moonshine can be made both more palatable and less damaging by discarding the “foreshot”—the first few ounces of alcohol that drip from the condenser. The foreshot contains most of the methanol, if any, from the mash because methanol vaporizes at a lower temperature than ethanol. The foreshot also typically contains small amounts of other undesirable compounds such as acetone and various aldehydes.
Alcohol concentrations above about 50% alcohol by volume, which is referred to in the United States as 100 proof, are flammable and therefore dangerous to handle. This is especially true during the distilling process when vaporized alcohol may accumulate in the air to dangerous concentrations if adequate ventilation has not been provided. In spite of this danger, the process of making moonshine is used all over the world for alcohol production, including places like Australia, Poland, and Costa Rica.
Making your own moonshine is a creative, cost effective way to create unique whiskey. The set up might also be a great gift for that incredibly difficult person on all your gift giving lists.
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