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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.

  • Me and my dad are gonna try out brewing anybody no any good recipes for starters

    Posted by caleb on May 25, 2015
  • I think Andrew meant he had a 1.020 og reading…which is very low.

    Posted by K on April 30, 2015
  • where do you get malt

    Posted by les on April 15, 2015
  • Andrew, a 1.2 is not a low reading. When making a sugar wash for high alcohol, that reading in a 6.6 gallon wash should yield you around 18%. You were surely using turbo yeast, correct?

    Posted by bruce on April 07, 2015
  • you mention two different amounts of yeast. in the INGREDIENTS LIST IT IS 1 PKG OF YEAST AND IN THE DIRECTIONS IT’S 2, WHICH IS CORRECT?

    Posted by Al on March 11, 2015
  • If you don’t have a free day to run your wash when it is done fermenting how long can you let it sit for before you need to run it?

    Posted by COdy on March 09, 2015
  • Why not leave the solids in the wash…i guess keeping it a “mash?”
    Would that give it more sugar to convert? Can the filtering of solids be done after the ferment and before the distillation?

    Posted by Rob on February 28, 2015
  • Looking for a simple corn whiskey recipe for a 2.5 gallon still.

    Posted by Russell on February 08, 2015
  • What are good readings for corn whiskey before adding yeast to mash?

    Posted by Scott on February 04, 2015
  • Amanda this would be a 5 gallon recipe. You calculate the batch size by the amount of water used in the mashing process

    Andrew, with a starting gravity of .20 I would guess, because it could only be a guess, that your temperature was incorrect in the mashing process or you didnt mash long enough before cooling the mash down. Or potentially you didnt have enough/properly malted grain. Those are a couple of things that pop into my mind

    SCott, either yeast is viable. People use the bakers yeast because its dirt cheap versus the more expensive cost of specific dry or liquid yeasts bought from home brew stores. You shouldnt need to add any other yeast to your mash. To answer your other question, hydrating the yeast is totally optional, but its optimal. Letting the yeast hydrate for at least an hour and a half should be sufficient up to about 3 hours being totally safe, either way your safe. THe yeast will hydrate itself in the mash while it starts fermentation. Look at it as letting your car warm up in the wintertime before using the heater

    Posted by Keith on February 04, 2015
  • Help! Got a question…how many 5 gallon buckets is this recipe making?

    Posted by AManda on February 01, 2015

    AManda . . . You will be making only 5 gallons of mash with this recipe

    Posted by Postal worker on February 04, 2015
  • I cannot see any of the answers people are asking. I would love to read them some are the same questions I have. Not sure if I’m looking in the wrong place or what. Please help

    Posted by Jason on February 02, 2015
  • Help! Got a question…how many 5 gallon buckets is this recipe making?

    Posted by AManda on February 01, 2015
  • i tried making the corn whiskey recipe yesterday. when i took my og reading it was very low 1.20. i went ahead and added my yeast and airlock. this morning i have very little bubbling in the airlock. could you maybe tell me what i might have done wrong.

    Posted by Andrew on February 01, 2015
  • I was hoping you could advise on using amylase with the corn instead of using malted barley to make a 100% corn mash. How much amylase, how long, what temperature, etc. Thanks.

    Also, have you ever used or heard of using sugar beet juice to make a rum?

    Posted by Travis on January 31, 2015
  • while my mash is setting and I have my ‘Yeast Starter", how long is to long for my ’yeast starter" to set out? I didn’t use the Active yeast you recommended I used yeast from a local Brew depot and only used one pack because the owner said I would only need one for a 5 gallon mash? what will happen if I add another packet of yeast and it is the recommended yeast from the instruction above. I added it several hours later and temp of mash was still around 70 degrees.

    Posted by Scott on January 30, 2015
  • after I add the yeast do I stir it one last time?

    Posted by scott on January 29, 2015
  • Hey clawhammer….i’ve had 2 of your stills come through my homebrewing shop. my customers seem to like the kits and we’re getting them on their way to experimenting.

    Posted by Stillcopper on January 25, 2015
  • Hey KK……your potential alch is about right. You won’t get higher unless you add plain sugar, about 1lb per gallon. or similar amount of brewers malt extract for 15 gal batch if you want to keep it an all malt batch.
    2lb of fermentables per gal yields approx. 10% alch.

    Posted by Stillcopper on January 25, 2015
  • I have more of a question. I did a 15 gal batch 21# corn,poured in 10 gal boiling water let sit almost 2 hours till temp dropped to 153* added 31/2 # of 6 row malted Barley stirred in and let sit 2 hours then added 5 gals of warm tap water to bring batch up to 15 gals . I let that sit over night I just did iodine test and alot of starch didnt convert to sugar also took hydrometer reading and only showing 4% potential alcohol. what went wrong any ideas? thanks for any help here.

    Posted by Kk on January 25, 2015


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