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March 27, 2013 posted in Recipes

How to Make Honey "Moonshine" - AKA: "Honeyshine"

How to Make Honey "Moonshine"

Here is one of our favorite recipes of all time: Honeyshine. It's basically a no frills distilled mead, but it packs a powerful punch and tastes great. We've grown accustomed to using wildflower honey because it has more complexity than clover honey. However, clover honey will lend its own unique taste to the final product and may taste even better than wildfower. Giver er a try and tell us what you think.

We purchase honey from a local producer and get it for roughly $75 per gallon. This makes honey whiskey about the most expensive home distillation project one can undertake, but its darn good and is definitely worth the cost and the effort.

Honey Moonshine Whiskey

Honey Whiskey Recipe


  • 1 gallon of wildflower honey
  • 5 gallons of water
  • Super Start distillers yeast


  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water to 120° F and stir in 1 gallon of honey until completely dissolved.
  • Add an additional 2.5 gallons of room temperature to the honey solution.
  • Cool to 70F using an immersion chiller.
  • Aerate by pouring mash back and forth between two buckets.
  • Add 2 tablespoons yeast. 
  • Transfer to a glass carboy, install air lock, and allow to ferment for at least 2 weeks (maintaining a 70 degree F liquid temp.)
  • After fermentation allow to settle for 5-7 days.
  • Siphon (do not pour) into a 5 or 10 gallon copper moonshine still. Do not fill vapor cone with liquid.
  • Distill, making sure to toss foreshots, heads, and tails.
    • Make extremely tight heads and tails cut if you plan on drinking un-aged.
    • Be tight with heads cut but more liberal with tails cuts if you are planning on following aging instructions below.


  • Age for 2-3 weeks using lightly toasted american oak chips
  • Add a tiny bit of honey to the finished product
    • Note, this will make final product slightly cloudy. Lightly filter to remove haze (only if you absolutely must).

      • as a mead maker, I have found that Safale US-05 yeast to be the cleanest of all. Ferments fairly quick (4 weeks). Mead is always an exercise in patience. To the question above: I have never had to out gas a mead using US-05. Also, yeast nutrient and a little bit of lemon juice helps in the fermentation. Make sure and aerate well. I have ran this twice, and I agree, it’s wonderful. And I also agree it’s the most expensive product I have ever made. For more ideas and recipes- got is a good place to start.

        Posted by Tinman on March 21, 2015
      • A few people have asked some questions down below that i may have enough information on to assist. I have been working on a mead to distill and it is not done yet but here is how it is going so far.
        I started with ~2 gallons of water heated to 150F, added 15lbs of clover honey. This lends to a SG of around 1.135, when put in a 5 gallon bucket and topped with cool water. Once it cooled to 75f i added yeast nutrient, mixed, aerated, pitched yeast (should have made a starter), and sealed with airlock.
        I did this twice so i have 10 gallons with 28lbs (second batch i used a touch less honey)
        I am at ~5 weeks fermenting slowly and have not opened it once (i dont know current or ending SG yet). At around 6 weeks I will rack, and distill a few days later in a 20Gallon all copper pot still.
        Hope that helps with the rather unclear instructions, but then again mine is not finished yet.

        Posted by Zach` on March 16, 2015
      • Tony- Are you taking a reading before fermentation? If not, that’s your problem. To get an accurate read, you’ll compare the before and after readings to estimate ABV. If you’re reading 0% ABV after distillation, you’re either doing something wrong or your hydrometer is busted. I’d suggest reading the instructions that came with it, or looking up some instructions for your hydrometer online.

        Posted by Ben on March 16, 2015
      • Can you explain to me the terms tight head and tails I am a complete novice at this

        Posted by Raymond on February 22, 2015
      • Tony – it sounds like you are not using the hydrometer correctly.

        Posted by StillDaddy on February 06, 2015
      • I’ve made lots of shine, however I followed the recipe to the t. It’s been bubbling for 19 days I took a hydrometer reading and it registered zero. Am I to assume there’s no liquor in there at all or is it just one of the side effects of this recipe?
        Posted by Tony on February 06, 2015
      • Bernie- iN REGARDS DO YOUR COMMENT “Could you please send me a full recipe, from beginning to end.” – tHE RECIPE IS ON THE PAGE ABOVE YOU….

        Posted by StillDaddy on February 05, 2015
      • Could you please send me a full recipe, from beginning to end. Thanks

        Posted by Bernie on February 04, 2015
      • I am fairly new to all of this and would like a more thorough recipe and more info on the distilling cuts if possible. Thanks for your time

        Posted by CHarles LYnch on February 02, 2015
      • I don’t know if your website is purposely vague or just not very thorough. For instance, how much total product does your recipe above for honeyshine make; how much yeast is to be used; and I clicked on your stills to check them out and they’re not there. What gives?

        Posted by rick on January 14, 2015
      • What should my SG reading be on my honeyshine mash?

        Posted by Brian on December 22, 2014
      • What alcohol content does the honey shine recipe make? And i was wondering if its no trouble if could email a little bit more thorough recipe to me to follow. Thank you for the help

        Posted by stefan on October 23, 2014
      • 5 gallon

        Posted by George Evans on October 20, 2014
      • My Father-in Law used to make this He called it Mafiglin (sp?)

        Posted by Momma Sue on July 26, 2014
      • Well Jr. Their questions are already explained for the most part. I noticed that this recipe doesn’t call for degassing during fermentation and I degas for my mead mash. So my question is; Should I degas during fermentation for my shine mash? Basic knowledge of fermentation says “Yes!” it gives the yeast new food and space to feed and shit alcohol.

        Posted by HEMIII on July 20, 2014
      • harveys honey in jersey $160 for 5 gallon bucket wildflower honey

        Posted by Phil on July 13, 2014
      • Can you recook the honey mash more than one time?

        Posted by William on June 28, 2014
      • Hi, I have 5ltrs of 40% how much honey should I add to this, Cheers, Peter.

        Posted by Peter McSween on June 16, 2014
      • Hmm. I got less than a quart of clear shine from this recipe. Delicious, yes, but why did it start to turn cloudy? I kept the temperature at 80 degrees.
        I used champagne yeast, was that the error? It is what I use for wine and mead, with great success.

        Posted by Laura Chumley on June 08, 2014
      • What %ABV wash does this recipe make?
        When you say ‘let settle’ are you killing off the yeast at this point or letting the yeast die on its own?

        Posted by theinhibitor on June 04, 2014

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