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October 31, 2014
Last updated

Apple Moonshine Mash Recipe

Owner of Clawhammer Supply
"apple 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.

Apple "Moonshine" Mash - Easy Version

The easiest apple moonshine mash recipe would be to mix off the shelf, high proof spirits with an apple pie spice mix. We've done the hard part and have created the perfect blend of apple pie moonshine spices for you! 

Apple not your flavor? Check out the rest of our moonshine recipes.

Apple Brandy Advanced Recipe

This advanced recipe we developed involves the distillation of alcohol, for which federal, state, and local permits are needed. 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. Do not try this without the proper permits.

To clarify, distilled fruit wine is typically called "Brandy." However, there are commercial examples of un-aged apple brandy that have been labeled "moonshine." This is the distillers' preference. That said, 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 turned into high proof spirits through the process of distillation.


    • 25 pounds of ripe apples ( 1/2 bushel. We used a mixed variety of apples which worked out really well)
    • 5-10 pounds cane sugar (We found added 1-2 pounds per gallon of mash worked really well)
    • Enough water to reach 5 gallons of total liquid after juicing the apples
    • 2.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient (We just followed the directions on the label. The brand we used required 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: 7-14 Days (can vary depending on yeast and temp)
    • Fermentation temperature: 70F

    Apple Pie MoonshineIf 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. We picked 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)

      2. Washed the apples.

        3. Added the apples to the apple grinder and grinded them to a pulp.

          4. Added the mash bag to the apple press.

            5. Added the ground apples to the fruit press.

              6. Pressed the apples.

                7. Collected the apple juice in a sanitized bucket

                  8. Once all of the apples were juiced, we added the juice into the mash pot.

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

                      10. Mixed the apple juice and water together.

                        11. We took an original gravity reading.

                          13. Our original gravity was 1.013

                            14. We turned the heat on and started heating the kettle.

                              15. Added 6 pounds of cane sugar while the mixture was heating up to 162F. We found during testing that anywhere between 4-10 pounds of sugar could be needed to reach our starting gravity of 1.065. It all depended on how much sugar the apples contained. 

                                16. We took another gravity reading after adding the 6 pounds of sugar and we were right around the target of 1.065. During testing If the starting gravity was low we would have added more sugar until the starting gravity around 1.065. This wine yielded us 8.5% when it fermented down to 1.000

                                  17. We cooled the mash down to 70 degrees with a wort chiller and then siphoned the mash into a 6.5 gallon fermenter.

                                    18. We then re-hydrated the yeast following the directions on the label.

                                      19. Added the yeast to the fermenter.

                                        20. Added 2.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient. We just followed the directions on the label.

                                          21. We added an airlock to the fermenter and then fermented in a dark room which was between 67-70  degrees. During testing fermentation took anywhere from 7-10 days depending on the yeast the temperature we were fermenting at.

                                            Kyle Brown is the owner of Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company which he founded in 2009. His passion is teaching people about the many uses of distillation equipment as well as how to make beer at home. When he isn't brewing beer or writing about it, you can find him at his local gym or on the running trail.

                                            • 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
                                            • After dealing with my apples,sugar and yeast ,how long would it be best to leave before distilling

                                              Posted by WAde cHick on October 10, 2016
                                            • NIce Sight i have abundant Of of maple syrup and apples ld like to try this please send some me some information / catalog thankyou

                                              Posted by Daniel Dietz. on May 15, 2015
                                            • NIce Sight i have abundant Of of maple syrup and apples ld like to try this please send some me some information / catalog thankyou

                                              Posted by Daniel Dietz. on May 15, 2015
                                            • I would like to share my recipe that i made this spring! 4.5 gallons of pure raw maple sap, and one gallon of honey! I used one package of turbo yeast and fermented for 7 days! After distillation i cut the straight liquor with maple syrup made from the same sap and 3 tsp of the honey to a pint! Well it was delicious! I made 1 gallon and between me and a couple friends im already down to my last pint! Just cant keep it around!

                                              Posted by tony on May 09, 2015
                                            • Where can I buy a refractometer like the one shown above?

                                              Posted by dan on March 15, 2015
                                            • Info about ur catalog

                                              Posted by S.R.Sparks on March 13, 2015
                                            • The photos and instructions are clear and well done. I would like to question a statement made in your first paragraph and I know this is nitpicking, is that “making alcohol at home for consumption is illegal”. I don’t think this is true. We can make beer and wine legally which is fermenting to make alcohol. 100 gallons per year per adult in a household and up to 200 gallons for more than 1 adult in a household. Not sure about wine. I think you mean distilling?

                                              Posted by Bentley on March 09, 2015
                                            • Thanks for the info! Can I get a catalog?

                                              Posted by Dan Doyle on February 05, 2015
                                            • Looks like fun , I want to try this

                                              Posted by Cliff on February 01, 2015
                                            • Great article, you put me in the mood

                                              Posted by Tom on January 13, 2015

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