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July 3, 2014 posted in Recipes

How to Make "Sugar Shine"

How to Make Sugar Shine

Easy "Moonshine" Recipe

We have all heard the quote, “Fast, good or cheap. Pick two...”

This sugar shine recipe is definitely fast and it is about as cheap to make as it gets. If you believe the quote above you might be inclined to think that this recipe can't be good. We'd probably agree. However, that isn't to say that this recipe is not useful. It all depends on what you're going to do with it.

First, this is an excellent beginners fuel alcohol recipe. It's also the same way you'd make "moonshine" if that's what you were aiming for (which we assume you aren't). If you've never tried your hand at distilling before, this is an excellent place to start. Making this mash literally only takes an hour or so from start to finish, it doesn't require any special equipment, and it's also almost impossible to screw up. 

Believe it or not, this is probably exactly how commercial vodka is made. Though, vodka is distilled several times to a very high proof remove as much aroma and taste as possible from the original mash. They do that because distilling this recipe just once probably wouldn't produce something that tasted or smelled very good.

***Remember, distilling alcohol without a permit is illegal. Don't do it!***


8 Pounds Sugar

1 Pound Of Raisins

5.5 Gallons Water

1 Packets Wine Yeast

Equipment Needed

6 Gallon Brew Pot

6.5 Gallon Fermenter


Mash Paddle or Spoon 


Mash Making Process

Add 5.5 gallons of water to your sanitized brew pot. Because the mash won't be heated anywhere near pasteurization temperatures, you'll need to make sure that all brewing equipment has been thoroughly cleaned with an oxygen based cleaner (such as PBW or Oxyclean) and sanitized with an acid based sanitizer (such as star-san). You don't absolutely have to do this, but if you don't you risk bacterial infections - which could cause off-flavors and potentially even ruin your batch altogether by killing the yeast. 


Add 8 pounds of sugar to the pot. This should result in a starting gravity of about 1.058, which will produce a wash with a starting alcohol of 7.5% starting alcohol if it ferments all the way down to 1.00. It'd also be a good idea to add a pound of raisins to provide some nutrients for the yeast.


Once the sugar has been added, apply high heat to the pot. You're shooting for a target temperature of 70F. Assuming that your tap water is somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 degrees, this won't take long, so keep a watchful eye on the pot.


While heating, stir the mixture of sugar, raisins, and water with a large brewers paddle or spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved.


After the sugar has completely dissolved and you are waiting for the mixture to reach temperature (70F), re-hydrate your yeast by following the instructions on the back of the yeast package.


Once the temperature reaches 70 Fahrenheit, turn off the heat. Do not over-shoot 70F. because it could take quite a while for the mash to cool back down, depending on the temperature outside. Aerate by dumping back and forth between two buckets a few times and then dump into fermenter.


After aerating the mash and dumping it into your fermentation bucket or carboy, add yeast.


Add a lid and a sanitized airlock to the fermenter. Try to maintain a steady temperature of 70 degrees, with minimal fluctuation during fermentation. For example, a dark closet in a temperature controlled environment is a great place to store. However, if the fermenter is in front of a south facing window and is heated by the sun during the day and cools down at night, the fluxuation in temperature will result in a final product that does not taste or smell as good as it could.


Ferment for a week or until the fermentation is finished. Once finished, siphon into your 5 gallon Clawhammer still, making sure to leave sediment and yeast behind. Be careful to not overfill your still. Do not fill the vapor cone with liquid. Complete a stripping run and then a spirit run with cuts.

*These pictures are fictitious and are for educational / demonstration purposes only. We use water and store bought grain alcohol to simulate "moonshine." It is illegal to distill alcohol without federal and state distillers or fuel alcohol permits.

As we mentioned, this is more or less exactly how commercial vodka is made. The final product from this recipe wouldn't have much flavor, and the flavor it does have isn't likely to be good. That's why this recipe is most suitable for making a flavorless vodka, which would definitely get filtered. The final product from something like this would best be used in a lawnmower or as a base for making flavored alcohol such as apple pie moonshine. However, don't do that unless you're a licensed distiller.

  • what you can do is run it through a brita filter. i had the same thing happen to me, also next time dont distill so high keep it between about 167 – 180 degrees and you wont get thatcloudy stuff.

    Posted by brucegibson on February 05, 2018
  • Do I need nutrients in a sugar mash ..theirs 2 sugar recipes on this site! Guess what one I did?!?
    It’s been 8hrs since I put my mash together is it too late to add raisins for nutrients

    Posted by DOug on September 25, 2017
  • There is a native recipe in Alaska that I have found useful.

    USE A FIVE GALLON BUCKET AND FILL TO NEAR TOp (leave enough room for bubbles & Sugar)

    Stir 6 cups granulated sugar in.

    While water is still too hot for yeast, stir a lot. The bucket should leave a couple inches for yeast flare up.

    Now that it is ready, and lukewarm,
    Add 3/4th’s cup of fleichmanns bread yeast. When it rises and bubbles up,
    Lightly poor a honey on top of the foamy bubbles.

    do not stir in yet. Allow the risen yeast to work directly with your honey. Use plastic and string for an airlock.

    For best results 70 F• and rapped in blanket.

    If no honey, use 7 cups sugar, and 1/2 after foam.

    Wait a week and it clears. also, if you mass produce this, you can mass distill it!

    Posted by ELly on September 10, 2017
  • You can try this if you want…
    8 Pounds Sugar
    1 Pound of Raisins
    5.5 Gallons Water
    1 Packets ‘Wine’ Yeast
    Equipment Needed
    6 Gallon Brew Pot
    6.5 Gallon Fermenter
    Mash Paddle or Spoon
    Mash Making Process
    Add 5.5 gallons of water to your sanitized brew pot. Because the mash won’t be heated anywhere near pasteurization temperatures, you’ll need to make sure that all brewing equipment has been thoroughly cleaned with an oxygen based cleaner. and sanitized with an acid based sanitizer (such as star-san). You don’t absolutely have to do this, but if you don’t you risk bacterial infections – which could cause off-flavors and potentially even ruin your batch altogether by killing the yeast.

    Posted by Sean on July 23, 2017
  • Made sweet feed mash using 5 pounds sweet feed, 5 pounds sugar,1 pack champagne yeast, and 5 gallons of distilled water. When I ran it, after the head, it only produced 4 pints and the tail. Ran it at about 190 degrees. If someone could tell me what I am doing wrong to produce so little, I would appreciate it.

    Posted by JENNIFER on February 04, 2017
  • I want to know if I make a 5 gallon batch of corn mash,would it be fine to use 6lbs of sugar and use an enzyme to convert the corn starches to sugar, what is the best yeast to use for a run like this? or is there a more tasty , higher alcohol recipe that I should use?

    Posted by steve on January 14, 2017
  • No

    Posted by PEter on December 31, 2016
  • Loved your show watched it oftrn.

    Posted by LInda on December 06, 2016
  • A friend and I ran off a batch of sugar wash and after I got home with it ,I put it in the frig a couple weeks later the juice had mold growing in it ,any ideas what could have happened and could it be re-ran to clean it up

    Posted by Tony on November 28, 2016
  • I use straight pure can sugar. 12.5 lbs per 10 to 11 gallons of water. Heat up to 180 to 190. Wait to cool until 90 add turbo test. First run off my pot still produces 125 to 140 proof. I get a little over 2 gallons of 130 for this recipe. Smooth and has no bad tastes.

    Posted by curt on August 25, 2016
  • Answer for swisher. Fast easy and cheap but good is sugar shine. My recipe is 6 gallons of water, 8 lbs sugar, 2 pounds of raisons, turbo yeast, and bakers yeast. 2 weeks later run it through the still. Awesome!!

    Posted by Tim on May 01, 2016
  • Cloudy shine. When this happens there is no fixing it. I would add a flavor that comes with a color to hide the fact its cloudy. To avoid this in the future watch what comes out of your still and test every pint for quality. Have 12 pint jars handy and only mix the ones without the cloud. The cloudy ones are usually at the end of the cycle of distilling. When you bump it down to 80 proof use only store bought clean water. Do not use what comes out of your sink. Don’t even use it for your mash.

    Posted by tim on May 01, 2016
  • Answer for Michelle. This happened to me once where nothing happened with the yeast. It might be the yeast was dead. I use turbo yeast as well as bakers yeast. The turbo yeast is done after 3 days but the bakers yeast keeps it percolating for another 9 days. 2 TBS per 3 gallons of turbo and a half cup of bakers yeast per 3 gallons. Your wash should not be thick. Strain and don’t let the dead yeast in the bottom of your carboy go into the still.

    Posted by Tim on May 01, 2016
  • Answer for Sasha. I make sugar shine all the time and do not filter it before putting it into the still. I’m not sure if you mean cold filtering like when you freeze the wash and just remove the ice yielding the remainder as shine without going through a still.

    Posted by Tim on May 01, 2016
  • Answer for Bill Maynard. I get 5 quarts of 80 proof out of 6 gallons of wash. I would imagine you would get 3 or 4 quarts.

    Posted by Tim on May 01, 2016
  • where the hell are the answers to these questions ??
    WTF …something rotten in denmark….

    Posted by aLBRO on March 15, 2016
  • out of 4 gal. what is the yeald

    Posted by bill maynard on January 20, 2016
  • out of 4 gal. what is the yeald

    Posted by bill maynard on January 20, 2016
  • Is there any way of filtering the sugar shine without a still?

    Posted by Sasha on December 07, 2015
  • My sugar shine is not fermenting at all I have added yeast a second time.I used the recipe with the raisins.should I add yeast again and will sugar shine be thick like corn mash?

    Posted by michelle on November 24, 2015

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