How To Keep Your Moonshine From Coming Out Cloudy


Credit for this post goes to thomas.

When you distill something, all you are really doing is boiling it so it makes steam and then you collect that steam and condense it back to liquid. If there is particulate matter in your mash and your still does not allow any mash liquid to pass into your distillate, that particulate matter will not vaporize and pass over into your distillate. The only things that will vaporize in your mash is water, alcohol and other oily byproducts. As long as you keep your still temp below 212 degrees F, the only thing that will pass over is mostly alcohols and water, the solids are too heavy to turn into vapor and pass over.

The thing you have to watch out for is solids falling to the bottom of your boiler and scorching. When this happens, it burns the oils in the grain matter and it’s like smoke, but underwater and this is light enough to turn into vapor and pass over. Beware if it does, it will give your product a bad burnt taste. For this reason, it’s best to run your mash through a screen before you distill it to remove the solids.

The other thing is to have a clean still. I clean my still with a strong solution of citric acid and water and then rinse it out with baking soda and water and this works well. It helps if you use something to soak your still parts in the citric acid solution. I use one of those wallpaper tubs to soak my long copper columns in.

When collecting the moonshine, don’t forget to removed the heads and tails. To remove the heads, I remove 1 cup off the top of every 15 gallons of mash, then I collect the hearts until the vapor temp reaches 200 degrees F. Once it reaches 200 degrees F, I stop collecting anything since past 200 degrees has tails in it. If you don’t have a thermometer, you use the 1/5 bottle at a time collection method. This means to fill up 1/5 of the bottles, one at a time and look at each bottle. Stop collecting when it starts getting cloudy. The only really good way to learn to distill is watch somebody that’s been doing it for a while and that follows a tried and true method.

Image posted by thomasedwin

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Vale: If you rerun the cloudy moonshine, does it reduce the amount of alcohol?
  • trevor: Nice one, Thomas. This question comes up so often.
    Your last comment, ‘watch someone who does it’, struck a chord with me because that is exactly what I did !
  • thomasedwin: No, it will not reduce the amount of alcohol. When you redistill alcohol the volume of liquid alcohol will be reduced but it will be more concentrated or a higher proof alcohol by volume, and it also helps to filter it through activated charcoal.
  • Vale: Thanks for answering my question!
  • bayyrat: Never get your mash to 200 degrees. 180 is more than enough. All alchohol will flash off between 164 and 175 degrees, depending on atmospheric pressure. That way you don’t have to deal with burnt flavor or foaming.
  • Vale: Thanks for that tip!

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