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January 10, 2014 posted in Recipes

Corn Whiskey Recipe

If you're looking for instructions on how to make corn whiskey moonshine, you're in the right place. Following is a detailed corn whiskey moonshine recipe, illustrated with pictures. If you like it, make sure to check out our other articles on making moonshine.

Mashing Equipment

  • First, making corn whiskey mash is pretty simple. You could get by with less, but having the following basic equipment will make this a lot easier. You'll want to have a large pot for mashing, a wort chiller for cooling liquid, a brewers thermometer, cheesecloth, a plastic funnel, and a spare plastic bucket for aeration. If you're looking to buy new or upgrade your existing gear, make sure to check out our recommended distillation equipment guide.



  • As far as ingredients go, you'll need the following:
    • 8.5 lbs. of crushed corn (sometimes called flaked maize)
    • 2 lbs. of crushed malted barley*
    • 6.5 gallons of water
    • 1 package of bread yeast(Fleischmann's Active Dry works well)

*Note, barley MUST be malted, otherwise recipe will not work (more on this below).



  • Heat 6.5 gallons of water to roughly 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature is reached, cut off the heat. It won't be needed for a while. Pour all of the crushed corn into the water and stir for 3-5 minutes. After that stir for 5-10 seconds every 5 minutes.

    • The corn will turn to a "gel" as it gets stirred up. Do not be alarmed, this is perfectly normal. The corn is being broken down and starch is being released, which makes the mixture quite thick. Once the barley is added and mashing begins, the mixture will thin out considerably.


  • Monitor temperature as you are stirring. Once temperature has dropped to 152 degrees, add the malted barley and stir for 1-2 minutes. Once stirred, cover and leave the mixture "rest" (sit) for 90 minutes.

    • During the rest enzymes in the malted barley will actually convert starches in the corn and the barley into sugar. Later, during the fermentation process, yeast will be added and they will actually turn the sugar into alcohol. So, to rephrase that, what we're ultimately trying to do during mashing is turn grain starch into sugar so we can the add yeast and turn the sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process. The enzymes found in malted grains (i.e. malted barley) are what make this conversion. Without enzymes, none of the starch will be converted into sugar and fermentation will fail. So, It is critically important to use malted barley, and not regular flaked barley, for this recipe.


  • While the mash is resting, it'd be a great idea to make a "yeast starter" by re-hydrating the yeast in a glass of water. For this recipe, add 2 packages of active dry bread yeast to 1/2 cup of 110 degrees F water along with 1 tsp. of sugar.

    • Completing this step allows you to verify that the yeast is good (a "yeast cake" will form and expand on top of the water if it working). This step also allows the yeast to get a "head start." Once added to the mash, the yeast will be able to begin rapid fermentation immediately. This reduces the chances of contamination of the mash by ambient bacteria.

  • After 90 minute rest, the mash will need to be cooled down to a temperature suitable for adding yeast. This is generally somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 degrees. Either use an immersion chiller to rapidly cool the mash, or simply leave it sit for several hours. Once cool, you'll need to pour the mash through a cheesecloth or a very fine strainer to separate solids from the liquids.

    • It's always to cool the mash as quickly as possible to reduce the likelihood that the mash will become contaminated with ambient bacteria while it is sitting. Immersion chillers work great for this. 

    • We like to use a cheesecloth and we'll scoop a little bit into the cheesecloth bat at a time and then squeeze the hell out of it. If you use small amounts you can wring out the bag and recover most of the liquid (which means you'll end up with more final product).


  • After cooling and removing grain solids, aerate and take a specific gravity reading with a hydrometer or a refractometer. The easiest way to aerate is to pour the mash back and forth between two sanitized buckets. If you see froth and bubbles forming when you do this, you're doing it right. Pour back and forth 10-15 times. Take a specific gravity reading by filling a test tube and using a hydrometer or by dropping a bit on a refractometer collection plate. 

    • Aeration is critically important. Yeast need oxygen to survive. Without aeration fermentation could fail and the yeast won't do anything. Aerate!

    • The specific gravity reading is used to determine potential starting alcohol. Basically, it allows one to determine how much alcohol will be in the wash if everything goes well during fermentation. After fermentation, another reading will be taken to determine actual alcohol content of the wash. Both readings are needed to calculate this number.


  • After aerating and taking a specific gravity reading, add the entire contents of your yeast starter to the mash. Finally, transfer your mash to the fermentation vessel.

    • We use 2 small packages of bread yeast per 5 gallons of mash

    • Our favorite container for fermentation is a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.


  • The last step of the mashing process is fermentation. Once the mash has been transferred to the fermenter, seal with an airlock and leave it sit for at least 1 week, and as many as 3 weeks. If it's still bubbling, it's still fermenting. Leave it alone until you don't see any bubbles.

    • We made our own airlock using a rubber stopper, some clear plastic hose, and some zip ties. Loop the hose a few times and add some sanitizer solution so the the very bottom of a few of the loops are full, forcing air to bubble out while not letting any air in.


Here's a Bonus Download

Thanks for checking out our site and reading this article. As a thank you're here's a bonus pdf download for your reading pleasure. It's a brief overview of distillation.


For a quick video on turning your wash into high proof shine, check out our How to Distill - 101 article and video. Also, make sure you check out our copper moonshine still kits before leaving.

  • I want to buy all your products I’d like a 15 gal copper still mash products and all the tool I need with all the info help please

    Posted by on February 27, 2020
  • Very informative reading . Think we are one of the very few country’s that making moonshine is legal . Craig AOTEAROA

    Posted by CRaig on January 10, 2020
  • My Mash is flat and not bubbling… I used a Briess Distiller’s malt (Lovibond 2,4 whatever that means) I ordered this under the impression that this is Malted Barley. Am I wrong? Thanks

    Posted by Larry on January 06, 2020
  • Very informative,
    Thank you

    Posted by on September 06, 2019
  • Could you please give me this recipe for a 63 gallon barrel?

    Posted by Dwaye on May 07, 2019
  • I read your article a few times through but never saw what readings should be on the refractometer? What is the optimal reading?

    “After cooling and removing grain solids, aerate and take a specific gravity reading with a hydrometer or a refractometer.”

    Posted by Mary Stanley on April 25, 2019
  • Fermentation in an Anaerobic (without oxygen) process. Why would you worry so much about aeration???

    Posted by Tim on April 23, 2019
  • good afternoon, and what is better rectificate or distillate?

    Posted by what's better on March 06, 2019
  • This is best education
    So thankful ❤️

    Posted by pilla Piloo on December 04, 2018
  • I made Malted Corn, what is the best recipe/ process for using it to make bourbon?

    Posted by Darren on November 14, 2018
  • I need recipe for 13 gal still any info will be great or recipe for 1 gal thanks

    Posted by on October 10, 2018
  • Used the receipt with the exception of added 1 lbs of sweet barley and 5 lbs is sugar. Used turbo yeast and it is working like crazy. Bubbles every second The raw mash had a nice sweet tast by itself

    Posted by Mike on March 04, 2018
  • I cant figure out how to get a reading from my hydrometer. Please help..

    Posted by Mike on February 25, 2018
  • Grandpa never added sugar. He said that the sugar from the corn is all you need to get the best corn squizings. With him it was quality not quantity.

    Posted by Fred Esslinger on January 25, 2018
  • love a good corn whiskey recipe….you just can’t go wrong. I use 25 lbs of ground corn, 1 Lb of malted barley and 4 Lbs corn sugar in 25 gallons of filtered water (the local city water here in west central Indiana is TERRIBLE and the well water has too much iron). for yeast, I just use Distillers active dry yeast (about 1/2 cup) after about a week, its ready to run. end results are, from about 22 gallons of useable mash and tossing the first 7 oz of distillate, about 2 1/2 gallons of 170 proof juice. once filtered and cut to about 90 proof, then allowed to settle down for a few days, makes for some fine Indiana sippin’ whiskey. all my friends agree, its pretty good either straight or mixed with a soft drink of choice.

    Posted by throttlejockey34 on January 22, 2018
  • There is no need to strain the grain out of the mash before fermentation. It will settle out afterwards and the wort can be strained then. it is undesirable to ferment the mash in a closed carboy with a fermentation lock. in fact, As stated, yeast requires oxygen for optimum results. Therefore, daily aeration by stirring in an open container guarantees fermentation of all carbohydrates. the co2 produced by the fermentation is heavier than air and will sit on top of the mash, keeping oxygen out. stirring solves this problem as well. use a stainless steel stock pot with a lid, stir daily, and you will never have a stuck fermentation.

    Posted by mel olson on November 30, 2017
  • Always wanted to learn this but isn’t this like totally illegal?

    Posted by Rob on November 15, 2017
  • I fermit on grain. Strain then distil.Works great…

    Posted by Robert on August 14, 2017
  • How much DME do you use for a 5 gallon batch. I tried for the Tin Malt ( no Hops )
    at a Brew shop , they don’t have any only the Dry Malt. I can use DME the place of malted barely ? Thank You Jerry

    Posted by Jerry Fisher on April 24, 2017
  • just to double check, can i use dried malt extract (DME) used in beer making instead of adding in the barley? will the DME have the enzymes needed to process the starch from corn?

    Posted by pete on January 10, 2017

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