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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 love my still.keep up the good work

    Posted by arthur holcomb on March 08, 2014
  • Why not use malted corn instead of malted barley
    Want it work just as well and have that great corn taste!

    Posted by Terry Jarrard on March 07, 2014
  • I’ve got this recipe going now,but I’m fermenting with the grain,do I need to throw it and start over,I cooked the honey shine last night it is good.

    Posted by Wesley white on March 07, 2014
  • Can someone offer an explanation to my question? I assume by the last comment that it is simply grain and sugar is not germinated? I didn’t think you could get sugar that way, just flavor?

    Posted by Bob on February 25, 2014
  • Malted Barely can be purchased at any homebrew shop- I personally use this:,12902.html

    Posted by BrewMan on February 25, 2014
  • I’a a little confused As I am a new moonshiner. what exactly is malted barley? is it the powder or liquid extract or the actual seeds/grain?Are you letting the seeds germinate? it sounds more like you are just heating it up and I didn’t think that would give you sugar. Either that or I am not understanding the recipe. Can someone please help me out. Thanks!

    Posted by Bob on February 25, 2014
  • I am a baker but we are all using the same principles- starch + yeast = sugar = alcohol. Sometimes I use a malted barley syrup to encourage the conversion of starch to sugar. Would it work if I used part or all barley syrup instead of whole malted barley? Also, I get a better product if I use a cooler, slow fermentation time rather than a fast 70-something fermentation time. I also save some of my batch as a starter for the next batch which gives superiour flavour. Would any of my bread techniques work for making a better whiskey?

    Posted by Rhonda C. on February 18, 2014
  • You can buy amylase enzyme powder at your local brew shops for cheap. Use this in place of malt to convert corn starches and protien to sugar.

    Posted by Rob Harris on February 17, 2014
  • What kind of crushed malted barley do u buy for this corn whiskey recipe? I got on Northern Brewer to buy some for this recipe and typed in malted barley and a hold bunch of different kinds shows up. Which is recommended for me to get?

    Posted by Tyler on February 13, 2014
  • Maybe I missed something,I did this recipe and it only came out at 80 proof.did it step by step per instructions.any ideas?

    Posted by Jimmy on January 31, 2014
  • So going to do this! I asked for a still for my birthday. Making apple pie for my friends this weekend! I’m excited!

    Posted by Elcee on January 29, 2014
  • Jeremy – I am not aware of anyone that boils a mash for making whiskey.

    Posted by Home Distiller on January 28, 2014
  • Can I use cracked corn instead?

    Posted by Glenn Murray on January 26, 2014
  • Sugar is not added as this is an all grain corn whiskey recipe. You could add sugar but it would change the recipe. Folks add sugar to their mash because it is an easy way to up the starting gravity of the mash. Adding sugar is not a bad thing but that is not what this recipe is about. The sugars in this mash come from the corn and malted barley so sugar is not needed.

    Posted by Emmet Leahy on January 25, 2014
  • whole corn recipe instead of meal please

    Posted by mark rees on January 25, 2014
  • what about the sugar how much for 6.5 gallon of mash and when is it added?

    Posted by Steve Caldwell on January 24, 2014
  • lets make some shine

    Posted by gordy on January 14, 2014
  • is copper or stainless steel better

    Posted by Brad McAllister on January 14, 2014
  • Why didn’t u add sugar? I’ve never tried to make moonshine before but everything I’ve ever seen on tv or heard says u have to add sugar. Please explain

    Posted by josep bennett on January 14, 2014
  • you can make an easy and really nice air lock cork drilled in middle insert rubber tubing seal with calk put cork on carboy and other end into glass of clean water when bubbles stop your ready for making shine

    Posted by mark rees on January 13, 2014

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