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October 13, 2014

Plum "Moonshine" Recipe

plum moonshine

Plum "Moonshine" - Commercial Distilling Techniques

*We possessed all necessary fuel alcohol distillation permits at the time this project was undertaken and documented. The product seen here was used as fuel alcohol and was not consumed. 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.
 

Stats

Starting Gravity: 1.070

Ending Gravity: 1.000

Wash Alcohol By Volume: (ABV) 9%

Spirit ABV: 40% (80 Proof)

Time to Ferment: 7-14 Days (will vary depending on yeast and temp)

Fermentation temperature: 70F

Mashing Equipment

  • Potato masher
  • 6.5 gallon fermenter
  • Large pot for mashing
  • Mash paddle or spoon
  • Brewing/Wine hydrometer or refractometer

Ingredients

  • 20-35 pounds of red and yellow Italian plums (enough to get 3 gallons of liquid)
  • 5 pounds of red table grapes (slightly over ripe)
  • 5 Campden tablets (Potassium Metabisulfite: used  to prevent oxidation and growth of wild yeast and bacteria in mash)
  • 5 Tablespoons Pectic Enzyme (Add to mash to break down pulp and aid in the extraction of tannin)
  • 2 teaspoon Grape Tannin: (In conventional wines it comes from the skin of the grape but most grapes contain very little amount of tannin)
  • 2.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient (We just Followed the directions on the label we have found that most brands require 1/2 tsp per gallon)
  • 4 pounds of cane sugar
  • 1 packet dry wine yeast (Lalvin RC-212 Red Wine Yeast)

      


Mashing And Fermentation Process

We had a fuel alcohol permit when we tested this procedure and we were in compliance with state and federal regulations. We produced, stored, and used this alcohol in accordance with TTB requirements. We also kept and reported production logs in accordance with TTB fuel alcohol permit requirements.

  1. We washed the fruit
  2. We added 4 gallons of water to a pot on the stove and brought it up to a boil. We found by the time we were done processing the fruit the water was up to a boil. While the water was coming up to a boil we were doing the steps below. 
  3. We added a few of the plums at a time to a mash pot and smash them with the potato masher. We did not remove the pits or the stems, as we will filtered those out before distilling.
  4. Once we had  3 gallons of plums/juice collected in the mash pot we stopped adding plums.
  5. We then added 5 pounds of smashed grapes to the mash pot.
  6. We then removed the 4 gallons of water from the stove and add enough water to reach 5.5 gallons of total volume of liquid in the mash pot.
  7. We then stirred the mash extremely well. We made sure the boiling water was well mixed into the mash. 
  8. We then transferred the mash into a 6.5 gallon fermenter
  9. We added 5 campden tables to the fermenter and covered with a cheesecloth for 24 hours. Stir the mash periodically as the campden tablets will kill any wild yeast/bacteria in the mash.
  10. After the 24 hour rest we added 5 Tablespoons of Pectic Enzymes. Plums have a very high pectin rate and the enzyme helped breakdown the pectin in the fruit.
  11. We then added 2 teaspoons of Grape Tannin - we did not need to add much as we already added the skins, pits, and stems from the fruits into the mash .
  12. We also added 2.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient. We just followed the directions on the label.
  13. We then added 4 pounds of cane sugar to the 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket and mixed well.
  14. We then took a starting gravity reading and it was 1.07 
  15. We add 1 packet of Lalvin RC-212 red wine yeast to the fermenter.
  16. We added an airlock to the fermenter and fermented in a dark room at 68 degrees. 
  17. After fermentation, we transferred the wash to a 5 gallon bucket lined with a nylon strainer. This allowed us to strain any solids from liquid. We always make sure to only transfer liquid to the still.
  18. We then took a final gravity reading. It fermented down 1.000 which yielded 9.19% ABV
  19. Distill. Because plums have a very high pectin content, a commerical distillery would most likely discard double the amount of foreshots - probably 300ml for a 5 gallon batch.
  20. A commercial distiller would make tight heads and tails cuts. Since we were making fuel alcohol this did not apply to us.
  21. Commercial distillers would set the hearts aside to be aged (for a premium product) or even consumed without any doctoring or aging. They also might "stretch" the amount of consumable product by mixing a bit of the heads and and a fair amount of the tails (nearest to the hearts) with the hearts. Aging the product in a barrel typically takes commercial producers several months to several years, depending on the aging method and the desired taste, strength, and quality of the final product.
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.
    • Is it safe to distill with flesh and seeds intact

      Posted by anthony_sarkis@hotmail.com on February 22, 2021
    • I am getting that blue tint of copper sulfate out of the still. It has a copper coil. Anyone can help me with that ?
      I was distilling plum mash.

      Posted by PAul on October 29, 2018
    • Very interestedd

      Posted by jan lasee on August 31, 2016
    • other than the fruit, where can I purchase the other ingredients for your Plum moonshine, the gravity stick and ingredients for Brandy?

      Posted by Ronnie Spivey on January 31, 2016
    • Hi fellow shiners

      I make Apple Pie shine;Cherry Pie;Cranberry;Lemon Drop;Strawberry; an peppermint.

      Posted by Brandon on October 31, 2014
    • Can you help me. I have 120 lbs of canned peaches and want to make a 30 gal mash of peach. What extras should I add and how many pounds do I need to add for a 30 gal mash

      Posted by Randy on October 13, 2014

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