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How to Make Strawberry Moonshine
Making fruit Brandy is a great way to get started in the world of home distilling. It's a big step up from sugar shine and making it isn't quite as complicated as crafting an all grain batch using malted barley, etc. We've had great success making various types of fruit based moonshine in the past and strawberry moonshine sounds delicious. The folks over at the American Home Distillers Association put together this awesome tutorial on how to make strawberry moonshine. We'll do a quick summary here, but you should head on over to their website to check out the full version of the article. We helped them with this project and it turned out great.
- 20 pounds of ripe strawberries
- 1.5 pounds of raisins
- 1-3 pounds of cane sugar
- 2 packets of bread yeast
Strawberry Brandy Mash Process:
- Rinse the strawberries with clean water: this will reduce the potential of an infection from wild yeast or bacteria on the fruit.
- Remove the green tops from the strawberries: the green tops can add bitterness to the mash.
- Remove any rotten or spoiled strawberries.
- Blend the strawberries once the tops have been removed- be careful to remove all rotten berries.
- While blending the berries, add raisins to the mix a little bit at a time- do this until all 1.5 pounds have been blended.
- Dump the blended strawberries from the blender into a clean and sanitized food safe bucket. Use a brewing bucket with gallon marks on it so you can monitor how many gallons of puree you have.
- Once you have collected 2.5 gallons of strawberry puree transfer to your boil kettle.
- Add 3 gallons of water to the 2.5 gallons of strawberry puree.
- Take a specific gravity reading of the mash- you will need to use a brix refractometer as the mash will be too thick for a hydrometer.
- The Strawberry mash should have a specific gravity reading around 1.024 which would yield around 3.5% ABV.
- Add sugar 1 pound at time until you reach a starting gravity of 1.054, as this will yield around an 8% starting alcohol (before distilling).
- Make sure you stir the mixture really well after you add sugar and before you take another brix reading.
- Heat the Mash to 160 degrees- this should kill most wild yeast and bacteria.
- Once the mash has reached 160 degrees use a wort chiller to cool the mash to 70 degrees.
- Once the mash is at 80 degrees start making your yeast starter.
- Once the mash is cooled to 70 degrees transfer it to your fermentation vessel.
- Add the yeast starter to the fermenter.
- Add a sterilized airlock to the fermenter.
- Ferment in a dark place around 70 degrees.
- Strain liquid and remove pulp before or while transferring into a still. Leave plenty of head space in the still, being careful not to fill the vapor cone with liquid.
- Complete a stripping run on high heat.
- Complete a spirit run using low heat,
- Discard foreshots and heads, keep hearts for drinking, save tails for future feints runs.
- Add hearts to pint jars packed with fresh strawberries. Age for a week before drinking.
Again, this is just a summary of the detailed strawberry moonshine recipe tutorial. The full article contains more details and pictures of every step. Click on the image below to go to the write-up by the American Home Distiller's Association.