COVID-19 Update: We Are Fully Operational at This Time and Shipping Daily M-F.

This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Read our complete summary for more info.

October 31, 2014 posted in Recipes

How To Make Apple "Moonshine"

"apple moonshine"

Before we get into the particulars of this process, we'd like to take a moment to remind you that home distilling is illegal without state and federal permits. However, making fuel alcohol with a fuel alcohol permit, is legal. The recipe below should only be used to make fuel alcohol unless proper permits are possessed for making distilled spirits. 

Apple "Moonshine" Recipe

The first step in the process of making apple "moonshine," or brandy, is to actually make apple wine. After the apple wine has finished fermenting, it can be distilled and turned into apple "moonshine," which is actually technically a brandy.


    • 25 pounds of ripe apples ( 1/2 bushel - we have a mixed variety of apples which works really well)
    • 5-10 pounds cane sugar (1-2 pounds per gallon of mash)
    • Enough water to reach 5 gallons of total liquid after juicing the apples
    • 2.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient (Follow the directions on the label- most brands require 1/2 tsp per gallon)
    • 1 packet dry wine yeast 

    Mashing Equipment

    • Pleasant Hill MacIntosh Fruit Press 3-5 Gallon
    • Pleasant Hill Maximizer Fruit Grinder
    • 6.5 gallon fermenter with airlock
    • Large pot for mashing
    • Mash paddle or spoon
    • Brewing/Wine hydrometer or refractometer
    • Brewing thermometer

    Target Apple Wine Stats

    • Starting Gravity: 1.065
    • Ending Gravity: 1.000
    • Wash Alcohol By Volume: (ABV) 8.5%
    • Spirit ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
    • Time to Ferment: 7 Days (can vary depending on yeast and temp)
    • Fermentation temperature: 70F

    Apple Pie MoonshineThe rest of the recipe is below. However, if you're into short cuts, you might want to check out our Apple Pie Moonshine Spice Kit before reading the rest of this recipe. It produces an awesome apple shine using a secret mix of spices and off the shelf alcohol!

    Mashing And Fermentation Process

    1. Pick a half bushes of apples. When making apple wine the more acidic and sour varieties of apples are best (Winesap, McIntosh, and Jonathans all work great - but you can use any variety). 

      2. Wash the apples.

        3. Add the apples to the apple grinder and grind them to a pulp.

          4. Add the mash bag to the apple press.

            5. Add the ground apples to the fruit press.

              6. Press the apples.

                7. Collect the apple juice in a sterilized bucket

                  8. Once all of the apples have been juiced, add the juice to the mash pot.

                    9. Add 4 gallons of water (or enough to reach 5.5 gallons total volume).

                      10. Mix the apple juice and water together.

                        11. Take a gravity reading.

                          13. Write down the gravity reading (Our original gravity was 1.013).

                            14. You can go ahead and start heating at this point.

                              15. Add 4-10 pounds of cane sugar while the mixture is heating up to 162F (you want to have a starting gravity around 1.065)

                                16. Take another gravity reading it should be somewhere around 1.065. If the starting gravity is low keep adding sugar until the starting gravity is around 1.065. ( The wine will yield 8.5% if it ferments down to 1.000 )

                                  17. Cool the mash to 70 degrees with a wort chiller and siphon the mash into a 6.5 gallon fermenter.

                                    18. Re-hydrate yeast if the package requires it.

                                      19. Add the yeast to the fermenter.

                                        20. Add 2.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient (Follow the directions on the label- most brands require 1/2 tsp per gallon).

                                          21. Add an airlock to a fermentation vessel and ferment in a dark location between 65-86 degrees (depending on the yeast strain) until fermentation is finished. We suggest fermenting in a cool dry basement, around 70 degrees.

                                              Apple "Moonshine" Distillation Process

                                              1. After fermentation, transfer the apple wine to a 5 gallon bucket with an auto-siphon. Transfer only the liquid to the copper still, leave behind the yeast and other sediment.
                                              2. Make tight heads and tails cuts.
                                              3. Commercial distillers would set the hearts aside to be aged (for a premium product) or even conusmed without any doctoring. They might even "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. They would most likely age this product because aging smooths out much of the harshness of the heads and tails. Most distillers don't age for any particular amount of time. They age "until it tastes right." During the aging process they'll taste the product from time to time to see how it is progressing, as the last thing they want to do is "over oak" the product.

                                              • Hello,
                                                I recently purchased the clawhammer still shown in the above picture. I am going to try and make some cinnamon apple mash and try to make my first batch of moonshine for my own consumption. Any help from your personals would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to using your still and products in the future.

                                                Thanks Henry Eisenhuth

                                                Posted by Henry EIsenhuth on May 18, 2020
                                              • 1 pound of sugar to one gallon of watter and a quarter of your barrel fill with what ever you ferment with .Blue berrys. Apples corn strawberrys or what ever .Make sure u use a 1/4 of your barrel for fermenting .

                                                Posted by John on May 29, 2019
                                              • your recipe for apple moonshine instructs us to start heating the mash but doesn’t say to bring it to a boil … and for how long?

                                                Posted by on November 26, 2018
                                              • Sugar has no place in pure brandy

                                                Posted by Ran on September 26, 2018
                                              • How much moonshine do you actually get from this recipe??

                                                Posted by Caleb on February 22, 2018
                                              • WHERE DO I GET THE GALLON BOWLS FROM

                                                Posted by LARA on January 03, 2018
                                              • I thought you are supposed to throw the heads out I thought it was poisoness

                                                Posted by Rkrs on December 28, 2017
                                              • @doug When you boil the feeder corn and let it cool the starch will make it so thick ya can’t do anything with it.. at what point do you add the malted grain to break it down? Also… What temp does the Levin yeast require?

                                                Posted by Gunny on December 27, 2017
                                              • Fell me in on using apple juice from the grocery store to make my shine.

                                                Posted by Richard on December 22, 2017
                                              • How many pounds of blueberries do I need for a 40 gallon wash and also how much sugar?

                                                Posted by HErbert jOyner on December 22, 2017
                                              • For an apple brandy, I was going to buy apple cyder from a local farmer who makes fresh apple cyder (nothing added). For a 5 gal batch should I get 5 gals? or should I get 1 gal and the rest water.

                                                Posted by Rob on November 14, 2017
                                              • For an apple brandy, I was going to buy apple cyder from a local farmer who makes fresh apple cyder (nothing added). For a 5 gal batch should I get 5 gals? or should I get 1 gal and the rest water.
                                                Thanks Joe

                                                Posted by Joe on November 04, 2017
                                              • How do you know when fermentation is complete? This article says about 7 days for the apple… I have seen some Potato Vodka recipe that says 2 weeks… Is it okay to take the airlock off and check the gravity or is that a no no….? Sorry, I am new to this but VERY excited.

                                                Posted by Ryan on November 03, 2017
                                              • My airlock has stopped bubbling but refractor reads 1.020. Should I let it sit longer?

                                                Posted by Holly on September 25, 2017
                                              • You are correct that “most areas” it is legal to make beer, and wine at home for consumption at home, but every state, and county can be diff. so always check first.
                                                Moonshine is 100% illegal everywhere without a permit. keep in mind if caught, they can take your house, and your property if they so desire!
                                                So if you do, do it, its not a good subject to talk about.

                                                Posted by Jon on September 20, 2017
                                              • Thanks for the information ??

                                                Posted by WAde on September 15, 2017
                                              • this is the easyest way to make corn liquor by far no mash no storing everyday and u can do this any day of the month and all year long and it makes 130 to 150 proof liquor.
                                                10 pounds feeder corn you can buy at any feed and seed store.boil corn 2 hours in 5gal of spring water.let cool to room a 5gal water jug add10 pound sugerthen strain the corn out of the water you just boild add to jug with suger cork jug shake this ll suger is dissolved uncork add 1 pack of levlin1118 yeast cork with airlock let ferment 12 to 14 days.the longer you let ferment the better your out come will be distille at 190 to 200 degrees

                                                Posted by Doug on March 13, 2017
                                              • @ Donald I think the best and easiest would be corn to start with

                                                Posted by JOn on February 11, 2017
                                              • I’m just getting in to distillering what’s the easiest recipe to do

                                                Posted by Donald on January 15, 2017
                                              • I’m just getting in to distillering what’s the easiest recipe to do

                                                Posted by Donald on January 15, 2017

                                              Leave a comment

                                              Please note, the design of our website does not allow us to respond directly to blog comments. Please email us directly regarding questions about products. We don't answer questions about recipes, procedures, etc. However, feel free to leave a comment or respond to comments made by others!

                                              Enter your email address below and we'll send you a free eBook on how to get started with brewing or distilling!