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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.

   

Ingredients

  • 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).

 

Procedure

  • 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.

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.

  • There are no stupid questions as I saw someone post. The only stupid question is one not asked.

    The purpose of added malted barley is to give the wort the proper enzymes to allow the sugars to turn to alcohol.

    The question I saw about the wort not bubbling could be answered by not adding yeast. It is possible to allow fermentation with wild yeast but that is much harder to do and you chance bad flavors due to the wort starting to spoil before fermentation begins.

    The wort needs oxygen for fermentation in the beginning for the yeast to multipy. I shake my vessel or use an oxygen stone hooked to an oxygen bottle to aerate.

    Use a refracometer in the beginning to check for brixs.

    Multipy all your ingredients by 12.6 to get enough wort for 63 gallons.

    Yes, multiple grain change the flavor profile of the finished product.

    Loveabond is a color profile outcome using a particular grain.

    Moonshine or distilled alcohol is not legal to make in the USA without the proper licensing and is only legal to make at home if you are licensed to do so but only for ethanol purposes…

    Yes you can use cracked corn but without grinding it you do not get the full strength of the alcohol outcome. Try using rolled corn and grinding it. The rolled corn is pulverized and is easier to gring.

    I know there are other questions but I will have to stop here for now.

    Posted by Mark on May 20, 2020
  • Based on how silly and uneducated many of these questions are I can assume most of you asking these questions have no business distilling alcohol. It is not a hard process if you educate yourself.

    Posted by Michael on May 18, 2020
  • I didnt strain my mash before fermenting,will it still ferment if i strain befoer i distill?

    Posted by Steve on May 06, 2020
  • Jeff, the barley provides the enzymes required to convert the starch to sugar so the yeast can eat it. If you don’t use barley you can add amylase enzyme

    Posted by MArk on May 01, 2020
  • What do you substitute for barley if one lives in a country where there is no barley?

    Posted by kwame on April 21, 2020
  • Do I have to put barley in it? Why can’t I can I just use whole kernel corn like the old-timers did it?

    Posted by Jeff on April 21, 2020
  • Bob: What’s the purpose of distilling? Right. Separating ethanol from water. Are the solids at the bottom of your fermenter ethanol or water?

    Posted by jason on April 16, 2020
  • @Bob April 13
    That sediment on the bottom of your fermentER is probably a combination of corn sediment and spent yeast. iT DOES NOT NEED TO GO INTO YOUR STILL, BUT IF A BIT DOES GET IN THERE IS NO HARM DONE BEYOND MAYBE SCOURING THE BOTTOM OF YOUR STILL AFTERWARDS IN CLEAN UP. yOU CAN ACTUALLY USE THAT SEDIMENT IN PLACE OF NEW YEAST IN YOUR NEXT FERMENT, BUT i ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ UP ON THIS AS STERILE TECHNIQUE MUST BE OBSERVED TO PREVENT BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION.

    Posted by rvoss on April 14, 2020
  • Can you use cracked corn or should it be Flaked corn?

    Posted by John on April 14, 2020
  • I did everything your corn resip said it was strained and clean I have a lot of white settlement in the bottom of my fermenter do I put that in the still or not? thanks BOB

    Posted by bob on April 13, 2020
  • I’ve seen in other corn mashes they use,malted barley,malted rye,malted wheat,what is the reason for so many grains, is it for flavor,help

    Posted by Mark Sheckells on April 02, 2020
  • 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 jjdrury66@gmail.com 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 dmackh1cow@gmail.com 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


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