Moonshine is often associated with America and this is usually because of stories from the prohibition years in America but, moonshine had been a part of American history from before even those prohibition days. Moonshine was first made by accident when Scottish and Irish immigrants tried to make whiskeys like they could buy in their old countries but once tasted; they decided that moonshine would serve the same purpose. It was made popular when, whilst trying to make extra money to pay for the expensive civil war, the American government placed high taxes on legal alcohol. As moonshine was easy to make and also cheap to make, other Americans, apart from just the Irish and the Scottish, also started to drink and make moonshine. This meant that by the time that the prohibition started, there were plenty of Americans capable and ready to make moonshine available for anyone that wanted to buy it.
The moonshine was made by first fermenting grain, often corn, in a similar way in which beer is fermented using grain and wine is fermented using fruit. The corn is ground into a mash with water added and then that mash has yeast added to it to induce a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction that takes place, changes sugars into alcohol. To provide enough alcohol for the people during the prohibition, extra sugar was often added to the mash so that it could produce even more alcohol. Another method that was used to increase the amount of sugar in a mash was to add malt to the mash. When malt is added to the mash, it too creates another chemical action and that action turns starches into sugar and so extra sugar is added to the mash that way. After fermentation, in order to make moonshine, distillation has to occur. Distillation is the removal and segregating of the alcohol from the mash. In order to separate the alcohol from the mash, the mash has to be heated. Water boils at 212°F but not as much heat is needed to turn alcohol into a gas as that boils at 173°F. By keeping the mash at temperatures that are between 173° and 212°, gaseous alcohol can be segregated and placed in another container where the gas will become cooler and revert to liquid alcohol.
Today it is possible to buy stills on line at sites like http://moonshinestills.net – moonshine stills for sale and these stills are made from 100% copper, thought to be the best metal to use for making a still. If you would like to own a still which would mean that you are the owner of a piece of genuine American memorabilia, it is best to check local regulations to see if the owning of one is permissible. As far as federal law is concerned, owning a still is perfectly legal, although the making of moonshine, using that still is not. Even if you can’t use your still for making moonshine, they will always make a talking point for any guests that you may have over.