If one wanted to make liquor

Hey all,

Was just curious if anyone knew if a beer recipe could be used to make liquor? From what I am able to determine, most “moonshine” is made from mashing corn, and barley and then adding sugar. What is the difference from what we do by mashing our grains and boiling (I know they don’t hop the wort) and what they are doing to get the sugars out of the grain? Do you think any of our beer recipes would make a good tasting or unique “moonshine”?

All of this is hypothetical, of course, 'cause making “shine” would be illegal without a permit. :wink: I was just curious about the process.

For whatever it’s worth, the gents manning the stills are known for referring to the fermented mash as “beer” prior to distillation.

So yeah, theoretically they are similar products at that point.
But I honestly don’t think I would want hop bitterness (or flavor, for that matter) in my whiskey.
Then again, I do enjoy many of the great bitter liqueurs produced in Europe.
So who knows…?

Commercial liquor can be made with any product that has sugar in it.

Wheat, barley, rye, corn, sugar cane, sugar beets, potato, blue berry, raspberry, chokecherry, apples. The list goes on.

The is a little town in SE Iowa that claims to be where Al Capon’s whiskey was made during prohibition. They started to produce a Rye whiskey a few years back with the original recipe.


Have you viewed the show “moonshiners” on the Discovery Channel?

From what i understand (and it isn’t much) you would not add hops because after the wort is fermented you then heat it to about 170 at that point the alcohol evaporates and thus is removed from the beer. This would leave all of the hop taste behind.

From what i can tell, moonshiners boil and then ferment in the same pot. They have a flame going the entire time in order to maintain fermentation temps as it is during their loose interpretation of a winter (our NE winter is a bit different!).

I was wondering if the same process of extracting the sugars-- and more important to this discussion, the flavors-- from the grain from our grain bill was essentially the same, and I believe it is; and if any of our beer recipes would make a good 'shine (minus the hops, of course; I think that may add bitterness. But maybe not if the flavors are not passed to the final product).

I may be totally off base; maybe the distilling process removes any flavors imparted by the grains altogether.

I just got the idea of using one of our beer recipes from watching an episode of Moonshiners, when a pair of them roasted and then smoked some barley before they fermented it. They were making Scotch I believe. I wondered if the smoke flavor of the barley added to the character of the whiskey. For all I know, the distilling process may simply strip off the alcohol from the flavored water (wort) and leave only the ethyl alcohol. I know that ethyl alcohol is molecularity similar to (or the same as when you add a catalyst) a hydrocarbon, that’s why it burns, and smoke binds to hydrocarbons. Maybe that is the only way to impart flavors, and not by the type of grain used.

But I’m no chemist, and not a “Moonshiner”. Its just an interesting curiosity.

I think every where with a slight moonshine backround claims to have supplied a bunch of capones whiskey, a town close to where i live called golden pond in ky claims that ninety percent of capones whiskey came from that town, course he went through so much a lot of places proabably supplied a lot of whiskey.

also you should look into ky ales, most of the recipes floating aorund nowadays are basically whiskey recipes with hops added, this would probably be a good jumping off point i would guess

Also distillers use a very aggressive yeast. One of the examples is called Turbo Yeast. It will chew through anything and give you a 11 present or more mash.

New Holland makes a whiskey that is steeped in hops post-distillation

http://newhollandbrew.com/spirits/hopqu ... er-royale/

I’ve been curious to try, but haven’t seen it in a bar. I’m not curious enough to shell out for a bottle…

Hmmm…From the “cough medicines” that I have seen made from fruits,about all that carries over is the aroma of the fruit, not the taste.

So that is an interesting point about the hops.
I’m sure you would smell them, but unsure if the taste would carry over, and the bitterness.

Hmmmm… :idea:

Looked at the New Holland site. That does seem to be a scary drink. Whiskey with the bitterness of hops? A man’s gut would have to be lined with anti-corrosion in order to drink that it seems to me. Like drinking gin made from pine sap (which, personally, I believe it is).

If I (or we) are right in that flavor of the grain or the hops wouldn’t survive the distilling, then I wonder what, if anything, aging the 'shine with specialty grains POST distilling would give it? This I could actually try, as they sell 80p “moonshine” at my local liquor house. That 'shine is real neutral as far as flavor goes, and color is clear as water.

Oh well, I can’t find anything online to answer the question definitively either. Guess I’ll stick to beer. :cheers:

From what I’ve read, some of the flavor from the origional fermented product DOES carry over after distilling, but not much. Most commercial operations distill two or three times if they are making wiskey or vodka to get rid of all flavor. In the case of wiskey, they then age it in charred barrels to add that flavor into the final product. For brandies, they are careful to only distill once which concentrates the alcohol but still leave some grape charactor (the starting material is wine).

I toured the Jack Daniel’s distillery. When you walk the catwalk above the fermenting corn mash, you can smell it for sure. The tanks are open topped, and a cloud of CO2 floats on them. The tour guide had us swoop our hands into the CO2 cloud and bring it up for a whiff. Pure powerful corn mash smell, strong enough to clear the sinuses, like horseradish does. The short point of this long narrative is that ever after, I could really taste that fermenting corn mash in a shot of Jack.

Rogue has a distillery. Somewhere I read that they take a batch of Dead Guy and roll it across the parking lot to the still. It didn’t say whether it was a specially produced batch without hops though.

I made a “beer” for my father in law last summer. In a 5 gallon batch, the recipe called for 3 lbs of malt extract and a 5 lb bag of sugar. No hops. It called for a yeast cake. I used Red Star bread yeast. It tasted like cider. He said it tasted good and tasted like he remembered growing up down south. The recipe is supposedly what the moonshiners used before distilling the alcohol.

I changed the recipe a little. I used 6 lbs of dry malt, instead of the 3 lbs. That was the only change I made. That was a lot of sugar.

Guess that’s my two cents on this matter…

Lakefront Brewery and Great Lakes Distillery did a pumpkin beer / spirits collaboration this fall. I believe how it works is that Lakefront does all the brewing, then bottles some of it and carts some of it off to the distillery. The pumpkin flavor comes through strong in the spirit, much more so than I would have guessed is possible.

Charbay does a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA based whiskey that I recently purchased. There are oak and unoaked version (I have the former) It is a very unique whiskey and the hops do come through with some green, spicey notes. A bit expensive but a unique product.

Did you find that in oklahoma? If so, mind telling me where you found it? That sounds interesting.