Lose the Cloudy Moonshine

Proper moonshine is crystal clear. No matter where you’re from, where you’re going or who you’re voting for, that’s an inarguable fact upon which we can all agree. Any hint of cloudiness is indicative of a flaw somewhere in the distilling process leading to a quality level that even the most modest consumer should not have to tolerate. But there can be several possible explanations for why the finished product isn’t as clear as water. So let’s clarify:

Bring the heat – just not too much

Managing the temperature added to the still can mean the difference between clear and cloudy moonshine. If it’s too high, liquid will boil up into the still’s column and drip down into the collection vessel. This process (sometimes referred to as a still “puking”) leads to the cloudy stuff. And we know what you’re thinking so go ahead and insert your own joke about puking and moonshine here. For a quality product, however, enjoyed responsibly, back off the heat. Just don’t back off too much or your moonshine cook will last longer than a presidential campaign. Some throw out a temperature range that is most appropriate: 172 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Others watch still output closely to know whether to add or take away some heat. If liquid is pouring out of the still, back off the heat. If the still is putting out a drop at a time, turn it up.

What’s in the water?

Minerals found in some tap water can turn your shine cloudier than a Seattle skyline. The obvious work-around here is to use filtered water whenever possible. Additional tips concerning your water: make sure your moonshine and water are at the same temperature when mixing, and always pour the water into the distillate.

Keep out the yeast

When transferring the wash into the still, use an auto-siphon. This helpful device will hold separate the yeast and trub that has sunk to the bottom of the fermenter, which is good because if the yeast makes it into the still, your moonshine will fog up.

Tails of woe

Fusel oils can be another culprit of cloudy moonshine, and these guys appear when you’re not making the proper tail cuts. Keep the hearts and discard the tails or you’ll be producing moonshine that is cloudy right away, or if the fusel oils are in low enough concentration, the cloudiness will appear after your moonshine chills. Fusel oils don’t smell or taste good, so you’ll likely know it when your tail cuts aren’t up to snuff.

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