A few Dos and Don’ts about Distilling at Home

Are you looking to buy your first set of home distillery equipment? Is it time to take the plunge and upgrade to a bigger still? Here are few Dos and Don’ts for distilling moonshine at home for every novice and experienced distiller out there.

Do: Experiment!

Experiment with flavors and different types of alcohol. You do not know what is good until you try it.

Don’t: Keep your finished experiments next to the still when they are done.

Can you say fire hazard?  Most hard alcohol is flammable and bad things could happen. In fact, the only thing that you should keep next to your still at all times is a fire extinguisher.

Do: Keep track of the math.

Make sure all of your calculations are correct. Not only will this keep you from making a bad batch, it can also help you from completely boiling out your brew or worse…

Don’t: Leave your still unattended.

An unattended still can lead to trouble.  You will want to stay close by and watch for leaks, vapor, and drips. While this is uncommon, it is important to avoid.

Do: Brew your own moonshine!

Moonshine has been legal since 2009. However, you will want to check and see if you need a permit or to follow any other regulations.

Don’t: Spread myths.

There are many myths about moonshine that continue to float around. Some of them are as old as the practice itself. One of them is that moonshine can make you blind. Yes, you can go blind from drinking too much Methanol (a byproduct that is usually burned off during the distilling process). However, this is exceptionally rare and takes quite a bit of doing. Most of the time, a bad batch will just mean a nasty hangover.  However, if you keep up on your reading, do your calculations, and follow directions, you are sure to have a few darn good drinks to impress your friends.

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6 thoughts on “A few Dos and Don’ts about Distilling at Home

  1. Hey. Im my years of distilling my own spirits I have never made a bad batch. Perhaps my earlier efforts were sub par and not all that smooth, but they were never “bad”, as in undrinkable. The reason for this is that I am always thirsting for knowledge regarding the art of distilling, I always pay close attention to what I’m doing, and I make liberal use of filtering. Carbon polish is your friend. Distilling is an art that has been known to man since we first started experimenting with the long bow…may years in many lands. “Moonshining” is not the specific property of rural America. Although the “hollywood” image of the hillbilly yokel running a still in the woods has become the popular misconception. Distilling takes place all over the world. There are many different techniques to be examined, and it is actually quite simplistic in form…the more you know, the better your product will be.
    Consider this, by making your own distillate, you as the distiller are fully aware of exactly what the ingredients are and what is in and what is NOT in your booze. You are in control. Preservatives, dilluting liquids, methods of distillation are ALL controlled by you. You product will be superior to anything you could buy at the liquor store…if you pay attention to what you are doing and follow tried and true methods. Remember, the BIG distilleries use the exact methods that you do. There is only one way to distill spirits…distilling on a small scale has nothing to do with how exellent a spirit you can create.
    So…be patient, welcome knowledge, LEARN. It is an art, like making music.

  2. Amen Bruce, thanks for chiming in!

  3. Nice article and I too am a homebrew, winemaker and home distiller. I enjoy the Scotch whiskey and bourbons. I’ve had a couple wines that were not so great, but made wonderful brandies. Hopefully soon the world’s governments will wake up and legalize home distilling.

  4. Ever get questions about distilling it X many times makes it smoother vs doing it well in one run?

  5. The truth is making moonshine is against federal law. I you do make it keep it on the down low, and never sell what you make because if somebody gets caught with it the feds will intimidate them into telling were the got it, and sure enough they will be pounding on your door. The other thing people don’t know is when you purchase a ethanol still online or from a registered company that company must give up your mailing address when the authorities ask for it. It’s better to have your new still delivered to someone else address someone that wont give you up because at the very least the feds will call your local authorities and tell them you purchased a still. It’s the law.

  6. All I can find about illegal moonshine is that the federal tax has not been paid and the state sales tax has not been paid, now with that said… If I buy say rot gut cheap wiskey (has to be wiskey or other hard drink, not wine, wrong tax paid on that one) redistilled wiskey has to be legal, and then with your paid for alcohol you should be able to make your own great drink, now I did an experiment, I checked for methonal and in store bought wiskey, the cheap stuff, yes there was some,but it will come off at 148 degrees and keep it out of you product. Now this has to be legal.

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