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October 2, 2014

Peach Brandy Moonshine - Part 1

PEACH BRANDY MOONSHINE
Before we get started, a reminder: Distilling alcohol is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits. Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation.

High proof alcohol can be made using any fruit that has a high sugar content and peaches are actually great for this. This involves using juices from the actual fruit, making a wine, and then distilling it. Peach moonshine, on the other hand, such as that made by Ole Smokey, for example, is made by creating high proof alcohol using cheap sugar (and not juice) then flavoring it with juice and artificial flavoring later.

Because making peach brandy and / or peach moonshine for personal consumption is not legal in the United States, we'll explain how a commercial distiller would do it (but on a smaller scale, obviously). Also, we're going to focus on the brandy method, because that's a bit more involved and exciting than a commercial moonshine recipe would be.

Procedure

The first step a commercial brandy distiller would take would be to make peach wine, which is what we do here in part 1. Note, making peach wine is legal almost everywhere in the US.

Stats

  • Starting Gravity: 1.060
  • Ending Gravity: 1.002
  • Wash Alcohol By Volume: (ABV) 8%
  • Spirit ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Time to Ferment: 6 Days (can vary depending on yeast and temp)
  • Fermentation temperature: 72F (average)

Brewing Equipment

    Making peach wine is pretty simple. We used the following equipment:
    • Cutting board and a decent knife
    • Cheesecloth or mash bag
    • 5 gallon bucket
    • Large pot for mashing
    • Hot plate or turkey fryer (to heat the mash)
    • Large paddle or spoon (for stirring the mash)
    • Wort / immersion chiller (for cooling the mash)
    • Thermometer
    • Carboy or food grade plastic bucket for fermentation
    • Airlock
    • Sanitizer

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 bushel of peaches
    • 6 pounds of cane sugar
    • 2 packets bread yeast (or any dry yeast)

    Mashing, Fermentation, and Distillation Procedure

    The first we did was extract the peach juice from the peaches. We had two options: 1. Cut and blend. 2. Press.

    Option 1: Cut and Blend

    To cut and blend we would have cut the peaches into quarters, removed the pit, and and then stuck them in a blender. After that we would have fermented the blended peach juice, pulp and all. Though, we would have strained the pulp out of the mixture before distilling.

    Option 2: Press

    Another option is to press the juice from the fruit using a fruit press. In this case, we would still need to quarter the peaches and remove the pit. But after that, instead of blending, the peaches would be smashed using a fruit press, extracting the juice but leaving most of the pulp behind.

    Option 3: Make a huge mess

    Because this was our first time using a press for this, we quartered and blended and then tried to press. We thought it would yield max results, but it did not work at all!  We processed the peaches too much and all of the pulp just squirted out of the mesh bag in the press and ran into our collection bucket with the juice. We ended up having to dump everything into the fermenter which defeated the purpose of the press entirely.

    Here are some pictures of the process we used.

    1. We washed the peaches.

    2. We cut the peaches into quarters removing the pit.

    3. We added the peaches to a food processor.

    4. We add a mesh strainer bag to the fruit press.

    5. We dumped our peach puree into the press.

    6. We pressed the peaches to extract the peach juice, turning the handle on the fruit press with a good amount of force.

    7. This is how we had the fruit press set up. As you can see, we have a hot plate underneath our collection vessel and are heating it.

    Pasteurizing and Fermenting

    After we juiced our peaches, we pasteurized the liquid. This is the process of killing the natural bacteria found on fruit, which is now definitely also in the juice. If this step is skipped, natural bacteria will almost certainly begin to grown and ferment this juice, making a truly "wild" but likely unpalatable wine.

    Wine and brandy makers will kill bacteria using one of two methods: 1. Chemical processing. or 2. Heat processing.

    Option 1: Chemical processing

    The most popular way to kill naturally occurring bacteria in fruit juice for the purpose of making wine is to use campden tablets (potassium metabisulfite). Amateur winemakers swear by this chemical, so we assume that this is the method of choice used by commercial winemakers too. This is a sulfur based method of treatment which creates an environment inhospitable to wild yeast and bacteria.

    Option 2: Heat processing

    We didn't have any campden on hand so we heat treated instead using a process called pasteurization. Basically, we heated the liquid up to 170F for about 10 minutes. This should be enough to kill all the bacteria needed for a healthy fermentation.

    1. Once the juice temperature reached 170F and remained there for 10 minutes, we carefully dumped it into a 6.5 gallon fermentation bucket.

    2. We took a gravity reading with a refractometer to determine how much sugar was in our liquid.

    3. Because our ultimate plan was to make fuel alcohol with this (more on this below) we added 4 pounds of sugar and mixed well with a mash paddle, making sure the sugar fully dissolved.

    4. We then added cold water to top off the fermenter at a total volume of 5.5 gallons. This also reduced the temperature of the liquid.

    5. We stirred again to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.

    6. We took yet another gravity reading and added more sugar until a gravity of 1.060 was reached.

    7. We then added a sterilized wort chiller to the fermenter.

    8. We cooled the liquid down to around 70 degrees.

    9. At this point we added dry yeast, applied the lid, and aerated by shaking the bucket for a couple of minutes.

    10. After this we added an airlock to the fermenter and fermented in a dark location at or around 70 degrees for 7-14 days or until it was finished fermenting.

    11. After this we distilled the liquid. You'll need to read our follow up article, Distilling Peach Brandy Moonshine to see how we finished this project.


      • I have been using a similar recipe though it has raisins and lemons added. Do the raisins and lemons just add flavor or is there reason for them other than taste?

        Posted by Bonnie on December 23, 2021
      • If u want some good smooth brandy with a good fruity taste put your fruit in a large container smash it up some add 5 pound of sugar stir up good then pore in a gallon of moonshine store well again sit it in a dark place like a closet for about a month then strain it out u have some delisous Brandy chill and drink

        Posted by William on November 13, 2021
      • will can peaches work as well??

        Posted by Jose on November 25, 2020
      • I have a question about my peach mash. I rinsed all my peaches but after 3 days it won’t cool down. I don’t know what to do about it. I think there must be natural yeast left on the fruit. Help if you can

        Posted by Joe Belair on November 25, 2020
      • thank you for your e-mail greatly appreciated my question was what is the amount of water and yeast to make cranberry moonshine i have 20 gals of cranberry concentrat i have been doen this fromgrapes for 21 years appreciate the amount of water to mix with concentratthank you for your helpalter

        Posted by walter on November 25, 2020
      • If you are lucky enough to live in an area where it’s available, you can use peach cider. just make sure there is no preservative added or if will be erally hard to start the fermentation. if you add amylase to the mash you can up the final ABV for a higher yield.

        Posted by John k on November 25, 2020
      • Can I leave it to ferment in my garage? These days it’s very hot and much above 70C. It’s more like 90C

        Please let me know if the higher temperature will be an issue

        Posted by JAzz on July 14, 2020
      • When makeing peach mash in 55g drum how qmany peaches to sugar ratio..i figured 3-5
        Pound of suger..per gallon.and 2 bushel of peaches for 55g

        Posted by Michael on June 17, 2020
      • My great grandfather as I remember hat a 15000 tree peach orchard who was a shiner made over 500 gallons of peach brandy had thirty stills going at once. His peach brandy was 150 proof the best in his business. Still have his recipe he passsd to me before his death

        Posted by John on October 28, 2019
      • if I was setting 30 gal of water ,3 lbs. of cracked corn ,with 30 lbs. sugar , would I use 15 oz. of dry yeast ?

        Posted by bearman on June 19, 2019
      • I helped my father make peach, apple and plum brandy. we didn’t go through half the steps you go through. chop or mash the whole fruit sugar, water and add wheat brand in barrel, cover. the brand was the yeast. when brand cracked open it was read to still. and watch for the a.b.c officer or sheriff.

        Posted by jbrittain673@gmail.com on June 12, 2019
      • will can peaches work as well

        Posted by Larry on December 10, 2018
      • Can the liquid be drank after fermentation or does it have to go through another process for wine or brandy?

        Posted by Daniel on August 27, 2018
      • Where do you find the answers to all of these questions? Lots of good questions here but no answers?

        Posted by Jerry on August 23, 2018
      • I want to make some good stuff

        Posted by Jimmy on August 06, 2018
      • Thank you for the excellent information, quite sure we’ll be chatting again.

        Posted by Kevin on April 18, 2018
      • Thanks a lot. I’m getting better, but a spoonfull if finished product will not light on fire. Hmmmm? Any suggestions?

        Posted by DAn Tabish on April 18, 2018
      • Why are you going thru all the work with peaches. The shine does not
        taste like peaches. You might as well make peach wine, then add your sugar and water to the MaSH and then ferment this mash . THEN put it thru your STILL. Now you have 2 for 1 .
        That is how I made Grappa .

        Posted by Jerry on September 10, 2017
      • Awesome thank you!

        What is sterilized wort chiller?

        Also, can you do this with blackberries?

        Posted by CHris on August 25, 2017
      • Thank you for the recipes: Very nice of you for the info! and I will not break any laws?
        Posted by Russ Bezs on March 29, 2017


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